Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Flu season is not over yet

Flu season is not over yet

The Centers for Disease Control says experts also are monitoring an increase in illnesses from a kind of flu virus that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, especially in the elderly.

There have already been more than 26 million cases of the flu in the USA since October 1, with more than 12.4 million flu-related medical visits and up to 31,200 deaths caused by the virus. The season usually ends in May.

Thirty-two states are reporting high levels of flu activity, with 21 of those at the highest level.

The good news is, while flu activity is assumed to remain elevated throughout the next month, the CDC believes that there's a 90 percent chance that the season has already peaked nationally.

The number of flu cases in Monroe County has begun to taper downward in the latest data available from the county's public health department.

So far, an estimated 26 million cases have been reported, resulting in almost 350,00 hospitalizations and more than 30,000 deaths.

The dominant influenza strain this season has been H1N1, but H3 viruses have been circulating in the Southeast. In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000, according to the CDC.

The highest hospitalization rate is among adults 65 years and older at 107.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population. H3N2 viruses account for about two-thirds of influenza A viruses tested this past week, according to the CDC.

This is so even though you cannot catch the same strain twice, because you can get another strain if you are not immunized.

This is followed by children younger than 5 years at 49.3 per 100,000 population, and adults, aged 50-64, at 48.4 per 100,000 population.

Nine additional children died of flu-related causes during the week ending March 2, bringing the total to 64 for the season. Two deaths were associated with an influenza A virus for which no subtyping was performed and occurred during weeks six and nine - the weeks ending February 9 and March 2.

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