'We may be on track to beat some recent records'

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

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Meanwhile, health officials on Saturday confirmed the third pediatric death of the 2017-2018 flu season in New York City. In the previous severe flu season, in 2014-2015, 148 children died.

Hospitalizations in the 55- to 64-year-old age group and higher levels of influenza-like illness are where the records will be, Schuchat noted.

A special education teacher in Texas is reportedly on life support after contracting both strains of influenza, as the worst flu season in years engulfs the United States. "That means one out of 10 people who died in the week that has passed died from influenza or pneumonia" she notes.

Though cases along the northern border near Canada and a bit along the West Coast show some signs of easing, there are "likely many more weeks to go", CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. The H3N2 flu strain is infecting the most patients.

"There might be a second wave of influenza B infections", she said.

'The flu is incredibly hard to predict and we don't know if we've hit the peak yet, ' Dr Schuchat said.

"It's not uncommon for B strains to increase later in the season", Schuchat said.

Experts still recommend getting the flu vaccine to reduce the chances of hospitalization or death due to the virus. The figures were through January 27, according to the most recent weekly report from state health officials. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year.

Speaking on Friday, acting CDC director Dr Anne Schuchat said: 'Influenza-like illnesses are now as high as we observed at the peak of the 2009 pandemic'. Most children and adults who get sick will recover at home without complications, she said. This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week.

One of the worst flu outbreaks in the United States in almost a decade worsened last week and will likely linger for several weeks, causing more deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. We need to "keep being vigilant", she said. "The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot".

The viral strain causing the most illness this year, H3N2, causes especially severe illness and is hard to control with vaccination.

'Some protection is better than none, ' Dr Schuchat said.

"The commercial supply is there", she said so dipping into the strategic national stockpile is not necessary.