Thursday, 19 July, 2018

CDC: Number of flu-related pediatric deaths rises to 20

CDC: Number of flu-related pediatric deaths rises to 20 CDC: Number of flu-related pediatric deaths rises to 20
Anna Jefferson | 13 January, 2018, 23:34

The CDC said they aren't sure how severe this flu season will end up being, but the number of related deaths continues to increase.

For more on the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She says there's still a lot of flu season left, and that flu easily circulates through April and beyond.

"We are now in the midst of a very active flu season with much of the nation experiencing widespread and intense activity", CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald told reporters during a briefing. The overall hospitalization rate for the week ending January 6 - 22.7 per 100,000 - is nearly double that of the previous week. "The season has started early, and it is probably peaking right about now", Jernigan added.

During the 2014-2015 flu season, 40 million Americans got the flu, 19 million people went to the doctor to get treated for the flu, and 970,000 people were hospitalized.

The H3N2 strain, known as "Australian flu" or "Aussie flu", has been linked to a number of deaths in Ireland.

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So far, influenza B strains have not yet appeared, and Jernigan said it was not too late for people who have not been immunized to benefit from a flu shot. It's especially unsafe for children and the elderly.

There are indications that the H1N1 virus, which caused the 2009-2010 swine flu pandemic but is now a regular human flu virus, is also starting to show up, Jernigan said. That is better than the 10 percent effectiveness reported in Australia, which has its flu season before the United States does and often predicts what will happen in this country. And Jernigan said he expected this year's vaccine to be about 30 percent effective against H3N2 when all is said and done. "In addition, there are still other strains of influenza yet to show up". The vaccine can also lessen the severity of illness in people who get sick.

While the Glasgow and Belfast branches both had some vaccine in stock, a backlog of patients meant the supplies were accounted for and no new patients would be able to receive them during a walk-in-appointment, they said.

Officials said the current flu vaccine has little effect on the H3N2 strain that leads to particularly severe symptoms.

"While our flu vaccine is far from flawless, it is still the best defense we have", Fitzgerald says.

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