Health Care

Flu cases on the rise in the United States, CDC says

Flu cases on the rise in the United States, CDC says”

California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Delaware, and Georgia are all experiencing widespread flu activity, according to the CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report for the week of December 22. Following a slow start to the flu season, the USA has seen 3 weeks of influenza-like illness activity levels at above the national baseline of 2.2%, flu activity reported as regional or widespread in 24 states and Guam, and an increase in respiratory specimens testing positive for flu at clinical laboratories across the country. Only data on flu-related deaths for children under 18 must be reported to the CDC, of which 11 have been reported so far for the 2018-2019 season. According to the CDC, 3.3 percent of outpatient visits were for flu-like illness, which is above national baseline of 2.2 percent.

It is not clear how many deaths are related to the flu this year.

"This system provides an overall indication of whether flu-associated deaths are elevated, but does not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu", the CDC website says.

Specifically, influenza A (H1N1) pdm09, influenza A (H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate in the US, according to the key indicators for the week ending December 22, 2018.

Health officials note the exception is the southeast where the H3 virus has become predominant. Some - more commonly children - may also have vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Temperatures during the New Year holiday and the rest of the coming week will be relatively low, and Chuang suggested that people who participate in New Year's Eve festivities or events take measures to protect against the flu, such as wearing a mask and washing their hands frequently. For people who already have the flu, the agency recommends staying home to avoid spreading it to others.

Although many people don't get vaccinated over fears that it can cause the flu, Dr. LaPook said that is "scientifically impossible". This includes people 65 years and older, any age with certain chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and children under 5.

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