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Flu Is On Track To Infect 34 Million People In The US

Flu Is On Track To Infect 34 Million People In The US

About one in every 10 people who died last week nationwide succumbed to influenza in a season so fierce it is on track to be one of the worst flu epidemics on record, a top federal health official said Friday.

Unfortunately, the flu season probably won't start winding down anytime soon, Schuchat added.

The number of laboratory confirmed cases of flu in the state increased in a week to more than the year-to-date number of such cases at this point last season.

"Overall, hospitalizations are significantly higher than what we've seen [in the past] for this time of year", Schuchat said.

While many are scrambling to get a flu shot, influenza continues to send people to medical clinics and hospitals for treatment.

"Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, weakness, aches and pains", Edelman said in a lung association news release.

This influenza season has been among the worst in more than a decade, matching or even surpassing some reports from the historic 2009 season, when the swine flu was pandemic and people all over the country were lining up for vaccines and access to care.

Epidemiologists and virus experts don't have an explanation yet for why the flu this season has been worse than usual, Schuchat said. What makes this year particularly tricky is the strain circulating globally this season: H3N2, a strain of the influenza A virus.

"The last severe season that we had, 56,000 Americans died from influenza".

In the weekly report, however, the CDC revealed that levels of H3N2 appear to be dropping.

Downes also stressed that this year's vaccine is still the best defense against infection despite its limited effectiveness against a certain strain of the virus, an influenza A subtype known as H3N2.

It did not help matters that the flu vaccine was a poor match this year, according to data from Australia.

This flu season is presently over 11 weeks old, and the normal flu season endures four months.

Flu-related visits to outpatient centers in the state continue on the increase - rising to 5.88 percent of all visits. Randy Bergen, clinical lead for Kaiser Permanente's flu vaccination program in Northern California.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci discussed ongoing research to develop more effective seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines, including a universal flu vaccine. "If it looks like flu, treat it", said Schuchat.

People are also recommended to avoid crowds, wash hands often, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, clean and disinfect surfaces and maintain a healthy lifestyle.