Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

A Much Milder Flu Season This Year Featured font size +

A Much Milder Flu Season This Year Featured font size +

This year's predominant strain is H1N1, known as swine flu.

Federal health officials say that the flu is now widespread in Alabama - and it's expected to increase.

In New Brunswick, where no children have died with a lab-confirmed diagnosis of influenza, the virus still seems to be targeting a younger demographic than in the last few seasons.

"We decided that this year, we would try to release these preliminary numbers of illnesses each week so that we could give people a better picture, " said Alicia Fry, who heads CDC's epidemiology and prevention branch in the influenza division.

"Calculations are based on adjusted rates of laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalizations collected through a surveillance network that covers approximately 8.5 percent of the USA population, or about 27 million people", the CDC said.

Percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses declined from 4.0% the previous week to 3.5%, which remained above the national baseline of 2.2%.

The CDC says, so far this flu season, between 6 and 7 million people have gotten sick, with 30 states reporting widespread flu activity. About 70,000 to 84,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu, the agency said.

"People get lulled into the idea that [influenza] is not as serious as it can be, especially for those most vulnerable", Dr. Russell said.

Flu infections are on the rise across the United States.

The CDC hasn't released data on the total number of deaths so far this season, saying 16 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported nationwide to the agency this season.

The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, though there is still time to get vaccinated.

She and other public-health experts urged Canadians who have not yet been vaccinated to get the shot as soon as possible.

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