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U.S. flu outbreak worsens; hospitalisations highest in almost a decade: CDC

03 February 2018

"More hospitalizations and, tragically, more flu-associated deaths in children and adults", said Anne Schuchat, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of late Friday afternoon, the flu had killed 53 children in the USA this season.

The state is in its seventh consecutive week of widespread flu activity, which is the highest level of flu activity, with at least half of the state reporting increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks.

And there are some signs of improvement in some places: OR fell off the list of states with "widespread" flu - a possible harbinger of lessening misery in the Western part of the country, Schuchat said. "It is not going down yet". The CDC's forecast though wasn't quite as precise as Punxsutawney Phil's; the groundhog "predicted" six more weeks of winter on Friday.

According to Science magazine, the CDC blames this season's high number of flu cases on an influenza variant known as type A, which is very strong and quite resistant against the flu vaccine.

Outpatient visits also rose to 7 percent, which is above the national average of just over 2 percent.

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Last week, federal officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that this year's flu season would be as bad, or almost as bad as in 2009.

These influenza case counts include only those cases with a positive laboratory test for flu and represent only a fraction of the actual burden of influenza occurring in the commonwealth at any given time because most people with flu don't see the doctor.

Some spot deficiencies of antibodies and hostile to viral solutions have been accounted for, yet across the nation supplies are sufficient, Schuchat said.

Another CCSU student said she chose not to get the vaccine for the same reason.

Sydney Hanks died on Tuesday, day after being diagnosed with the flu.

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But health officials continued to press the public to get flu shots. "It's an H3N2 year", said Fauci.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that can be mild or severe enough to require hospitalization, and can cause death.

The identical vaccine was used last season in Canada and was found to be 42 per cent effective in preventing cases of H3N2.

The CDC has even issued a serious warning about this year's particularly unsafe strain, asking people to be as diligent as possible in protecting themselves from the flu by getting a flu shot, washing hands often, covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has the flu.

"This year, 2017-18, for a strikingly long part of the season, completely parallels the 2014-15 year", he said.

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U.S. flu outbreak worsens; hospitalisations highest in almost a decade: CDC