During a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flu outbreak update Friday, CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat gave us the news nobody wanted to hear–the latest tracking data indicate that influenza activity is still on the rise overall, in fact, we may be on track to beat some recent records.
Schuchat said, “In the past five seasons, influenza-like Illness has been elevated for between 11 and 20 weeks, and we’re only at week 11 now, so we could potentially see several more weeks of activity.
“Here’s what we can tell you, based on the latest data. Levels of influenza-like-illness across the country are now as high as we observed at the peak of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
“This doesn’t mean that we are having a pandemic, just that levels of influenza-like-illness are as high as what we saw during the peak of H1N1.”
“The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia & influenza is 10.1 percent this week. That means one out of 10 people who died in the week that has passed died from influenza or pneumonia” she notes.
While Influenza A H3N2 viruses are the dominant strain this season, an increasing proportion of B viruses are circulating (30 percent), as well as a smaller increase in the proportion of H1N1 viruses.
10 more pediatric deaths were reported last week, bringing that total to 63.
Despite the calls from health officials for people to get the flu vaccine, flaws and all, only 40 percent of the US population had received the flu vaccination by November.
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