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A “nasty” flu virus is now widespread in the United States, killing at least 26 children, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.
The CDC said in a weekly update that high levels of flu activity were reported in 46 U.S. states for the week ending Jan. 3, up from 43 states during the previous week.
“It appears that we’re right in the middle of flu season this year,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a teleconference. “But it’s too soon to say whether we’ve peaked.”
According to the CDC, a U.S. flu season lasts about 13 weeks on average and the country is now about seven weeks in.
The predominant circulating strain this season is H3N2, which Frieden called “a nastier flu virus” than other flu viruses.
Hospitalization rates among people 65 years and older “are rising sharply,” going from 52 per 100,000 the previous week to 92 per 100,000, he said.
The last H3N2 season was in 2012-13 and the cumulative hospitalization rate for older people by the end of that season reached 183 per 100,000.
“We wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar happening this year,” the CDC chief said.
Five children died from the flu during the last full week, bringing the total flu deaths to 26 this season, he said, noting the actual number of deaths may be “even higher” based on past investigations.
Even worse, about two-thirds of H3N2 viruses analyzed this season are different from the H3N2 virus that’s included in this year’s flu vaccine, he said.
That means protection with vaccination against this season’s H3N2 viruses will probably be reduced.
Despite that possibility, Frieden continued to urge people to get vaccinated, especially children younger than two years and adults aged 65 years and older.
“Vaccinations may still offer some protection and there are other strains of flu out there as well,” he explained.
Courtesy of xinhuanet news
The flu is rearing its ugly head this season. Sadly, 15 children have died from the virus — and the CDC fears that this is just the beginning.
With no end in site, the flu continues to run rampant across the country and has taken the lives of 15 children. So sad. The CDC has declared the flu an epidemic, and announced that it’s expected to get even worse in the coming weeks.
CDC Officially Declares The Flu An Epidemic
The flu has always been a tough virus to endure for children and the elderly, because of their susceptible immune systems. Now, fifteen children nationwide have reportedly died of influenza since the 2014-15 flu season began this fall.
Health officials feel that the flu epidemic has increased because the H3N2 strain mutated and therefore reduced the effectiveness of this season’s pre-prepared vaccine.
The CDC has reported that around 90 percent of flu cases so far this year have been the H3N2 subtype. So scary!
So far, the hardest-hit states are in the Southeast and Midwest sections of the country, according to the CDC.
In Tennessee, at least six children have died from the flu this year and as of Dec. 29, the state is under the widespread outbreak category according to the CDC. And just one hospital in the state has seen 442 flu-stricken children.
Hopefully, the death toll doesn’t rise as the flu season continues to roll on.
Courtesy of Hollywood Life
Influenza Kills 605 People In Mexico
Mexico has reported 605 deaths and 5,471 cases of influenza since January 1, mainly caused by the A(H1N1) virus.
The Secretariat of Health reported that the 551 deaths were caused by that variant of the disease, while nine were caused by the A(H3N2) virus, one by the B variant and 44 due to other types of influenza.
Of more than 5,400 confirmed cases of influenza during the period, 4,481 were affected by the A(H1N1) virus, 446 by A(H3N2), 102 by the B variant and 442 by other forms of the disease.
According to the Secretariat of Health, the virus that caused the pandemic in 2009 has become seasonal and causes more severe symptoms in adults aged 35-55 who suffer from chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.