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article imageCDC — Flu season to get worse with weeks of suffering ahead

By Karen Graham     Feb 9, 2018 in Health
Ii it's weekly update of the 2018 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported 42 states had heavy flu-related patient traffic last week, up from 39 the week before. There have been 10 new child deaths.
In its update, the CDC said the flu is sickening and hospitalizing Americans at rates not seen in nearly a decade, and the season is getting worse Besides the additional deaths of 10 children from the virus, the agency says we are experiencing the highest flu hospitalization rate since the agency started keeping comparable records in 2010.
"We were hoping to have better news to share today, but unfortunately it looks like this flu season continues to be particularly challenging," Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on a conference call Friday morning. "We may be on track to break some recent records."
Syringes filled with influenza vaccination are seen at a Walgreens Pharmacy on January 14  2014 in C...
Syringes filled with influenza vaccination are seen at a Walgreens Pharmacy on January 14, 2014 in Concord, California
Justin Sullivan, Getty/AFP/File
Schuchat added, "We don’t know if we have hit the peak yet. We could potentially see several more weeks of increased flu activity.” She also cited the 63 children's deaths and adults deaths, saying that with the increased number of hospitalizations seen this past week, the mortality rate could rise.
While it is still not clear why the flu season has been so severe and widespread this year and causing high levels of illness in 43, the viral strain responsible for the most illness this year, H3N2, causes especially severe illness and is hard to control with vaccination.
The flu season is now in its 11th week, and it is sometimes difficult to determine when it has reached its peak. In the last five years, the CDC says influenza-like activity in the U.S. has remained elevated anywhere from 11 to 20 weeks, so we may have almost two more months of misery.
Schuchat emphasized that CDC virologists are working on figuring out why the H3N2 is so resistant to vaccines and how we can come up with better vaccines in the future. "It’s a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be and why we can never let down our guard against this virus because the virus is always changing, and we need to stay faster than it.”
More about Flu season, Deaths, swine flu season, severe strain, influenza AH3
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