Health

CDC: Flu Season Continues to Worsen, Could Peak This Month

In this Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,in Atlanta. The agency released its first progress report Thursday, and CDC officials said they're mostly pleased.  (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(AP) – The flu is now widespread in all but seven states, and hospitalization rates match the dismal season two years ago. While health officials fear this will be an unusually bad year, it’s too soon to say.

The latest figures released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the flu hitting hard in most of the 43 states where the illness was widespread. But the flu was not yet rampant in populous states like California and New York.

The report is for the week of Christmas, and it shows the flu season following a similar track as the last two, when flu activity peaked no later than mid-January. Perhaps that will happen this winter, too, the CDC’s Dr. Michael Jhung said.

HOW BAD IS THIS FLU SEASON?

It’s not clear yet. Experts worry this winter will be unusually bad because the nasty bug that’s making most people sick isn’t included in this year’s vaccine. Preliminary data on how well the vaccine is working is still weeks away. Among infectious diseases, flu is considered one of the nation’s leading causes of death, killing roughly 24,000 a year, on average.

HOW UNUSUAL IS FLU THIS YEAR?

The different flu strain makes predictions more difficult. The current season hit hard in December – earlier than usual. But the last two flu seasons hit early, too. So far, flu hospitalization rates are similar to the harsh season two years ago, which was dominated by a similar flu virus. Especially this year, health officials this year are urging doctors to treat flu patients promptly with antiviral medications.

HAS FLU BECOME EPIDEMIC?

Yes, but that’s not unusual. “It’s safe to say we have a flu epidemic every year,”Jhung said Monday. Epidemics occur when a virus spreads quickly and affects many people at the same time. According to one CDC definition, flu is epidemic when a certain percentage of deaths in a given week are due to flu and pneumonia.

By that measure, flu epidemics occurred in nine of the last dozen winters, including this one. Flu-related deaths surpassed the epidemic threshold three weeks ago, then dropped below that level the next week. But other measures indicate flu still is epidemic.

IS IT TOO LATE TO GET A FLU SHOT?

CDC officials say no. The flu season appears to be on track to peak this month, but even if it does, the flu will still be around for months. Despite the new flu strain, the vaccine has been well matched in roughly a third of the flu cases seen so far. And it is considered to be effective against some other flu viruses that could surge in the late winter or spring. About 40 percent of the public was vaccinated against flu as of November, which is about normal in recent years, Jhung said.

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker