America’s serious influenza outbreak has touched every state in the continental United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s widespread flu activity from this season’s outbreak in all of the continental U.S. – something that hasn’t happened in the CDC’s 13 years of tracking the spread of influenza via particular surveillance. The current flu season started earlier than in the past and is likely peaking, according to the CDC.
“I think the simplest way to describe it is that flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now. There’s lots of flu in lots of places,” Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC’s Influenza Division, said during a recent briefing on U.S. flu activity.
In response to influenza concerns, the CDC postponed a briefing scheduled for Tuesday on the public health response to a nuclear detonation to instead discuss the response to “severe influenza.” The new session is slated for Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be webcast live from Atlanta, where the agency is headquartered. The CDC reports that so far this season, influenza A, H3N2, has been the most common form of influenza circulating, and that such viruses are often linked to more severe illness among adults 65 and older and children.
Tied to the flu, the agency recorded 22.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the U.S. for the week ending Jan. 6, and says there have been 20 pediatric deaths associated with influenza during the 2017-2018 flu season.
CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said past experience suggests it “will take many more weeks for flu activity to truly slow down.”
The outbreak is being called an epidemic, although that classification is not uncommon in the U.S. and the Northern Hemisphere when it comes to the flu, Jernigan said. An epidemic, he said, is declared when flu activity surpasses a certain baseline, and the U.S. passed that baseline in November.
Flu activity will likely fall below the baseline “in several months,” Jernigan said.
“Flu seasons every year are bad, so there’s never a mild flu season,” he said.
CDC officials stressed the importance of vaccinations to prevent infection and the spread of influenza. If people are sick and especially if they are suffering from underlying conditions, officials are encouraging them to seek medical attention.
“Someday, of course, we hope to have a universal flu vaccine, one that attacks all influenza type viruses and provides protection that lasts for years,” Fitzgerald said. “But until that day arrives, we will continue to improve the vaccines that we have and find ways and tools to help Americans reduce their risk of getting sick.”
Manufacturers reportedly have shipped more than 151 million doses of flu vaccines, making treatment readily available.
“Fuck Cancer wants to remind everyone to keep in mind those with compromised immune systems this flu season.”
Source: USNews.com, by Megan Trimble, Associate Editor/Social Media, National News, CDC: Flu Epidemic Apparently Peaking, Likely to Continue, https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-01-16/cdc-flu-epidemic-apparently-peaking-likely-to-continue, January, 17, 2018