No Sign of Peaking Yet
Twenty-nine states reported high levels of flu, up from 16 the previous week, according to the Centers of Disease Control’s latest figures that indicate no sign of a peak. “I think we’re still accelerating,” says the CDC’s Tom Skinner. Forty-one states reported widespread activity, up from 31 in the last report. While the CDC’s numbers, based on doctor visits, can lag about two weeks behind real-time activity, Flu Near You, a new tracking tool, may offer more immediate data. It also indicates that a number of people who were vaccinated still developed confirmed strains of the flu. The CDC says it’s not yet possible to know whether that’s happening more regularly this season but it seems that this year’s vaccines are well matched for the strains of the virus that are circulating this year.
Early Widespread Activity
This flu season could be a bad one say medical experts who cite an earlier start with widespread activity across the US, particularly in the south and southeast. To date, the percentage of people who sought medical care for flu-like symptoms has reached the national baseline of 2.2%. This is the earliest this has happened in nearly a decade. High levels of flu activity have been reported in AL, LA, MI, TN and TX with 30 states reporting activity ranging from widespread to local, up from 8 states that reported local activity last week, says the CDC. In fact, last year’s flu season started late and experienced an uptick in February, prompting experts to predict a bad flu season. They urge people to get flu shots now saying the key to preventing the flu is getting the shot.
Flu Activity Is Increasing
Flu activity is widespread in 25 of the states, says the CDC. Flu-like activities have been the highest in Southern and Southeastern states like Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina. This flu season, which began in October, has included 13 confirmed pediatric deaths, reports CNN. According to the CDC, flu activity increased in the period from January 16 to 22 when three flu-related deaths were reported in children with two of the deaths associated with influenza A (H3) virus and one associated with influenza B virus. Despite the increase in flu activity, levels are still below the epidemic threshold.