“We don’t know whether we have hit the pinnacle yet”, said Anne Schuchat, acting CDC chief.
The level of influenza-like activity for the week ending February 3, the most recent week for data, shows that 7.7 percent of visits were from patients with flu symptoms, which exceeds the severe 2003-04 flu season and matches the highest level seen in the 2009 pandemic flu year, Schuchat said.
‘The hospitalization rate is approaching the final rate that we observed at the end of the active 2014 flu season, ‘ Dr Schuchat said.
A particular strain of the flu is injected into fertilized eggs, incubated and harvested. An unusually high rate of hospitalizations of nonelderly adults is among the contributing factors. Will it even protect you during this particularly intense flu season?
In its briefing, the CDC also reported 10 new pediatric deaths attributed to influenza viruses, bringing the total reported to 63 this season. A graph from the CDC shows that the level of flu-like illness has steadily increased over the last few months.
Vaccination is still recommended, especially for its protection against the Type B strains which are said to be increasing in circulation in some parts of the country.
Host statewide conference calls and/or webinars, along with the State Education Department, for Superintendents and School Nurses, to provide guidance on school-based influenza prevention and facility disinfection.
The number was calculated using a CDC estimate of more than 30 million USA flu sufferers over age 18 during the 2014-15 season; the current national employment-population ratio of 60.1 percent; the average national hourly wage of $26.63; and the National Health Interview Survey information previously noted.
As for the severity of the flu season, “It’s just week 11, there could be several more weeks of flu”, Dr. Schuchat said. Here in Osceola County, health experts say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in flu cases. The illnesses have begun to decline in OR and Hawaii, Schuchat said.
Another factor could prolong this year’s flu season: the Olympics.
While flu or pneumonia was listed on 10.1% of death certificates for the week, Dr. Schuchat said deaths probably have not peaked.
The recent death of a Guelph elementary school student is being blamed on influenza and health officials suspect a second death could also be connected to the illness. It can be hard to track the number of deaths overall because frequently the complication, like sepsis or pneumonia, is listed on the death certificate rather than the flu.
It’s still “worthwhile” for unvaccinated people to get a flu shot Schuchat said.
Unless experiencing a medical crisis, people feeling flu-like symptoms, ranging from a sore throat to body aches, should contact their doctor’s office via a nurse-consultation line before seeking help at a hospital to avoid overwhelming emergency rooms, Hawkins said.