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Another week of increases in severe flu cases dashes hopes at CDC

10 February 2018, 06:44 | Myrtle Vega

Guelph area child dies from flu, 2nd child's death possibly flu-related

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

And it is only now, after people have spent weeks spreading the flu and lying sick in hospitals, that the sickest are dying, and the extent of this flu's deadliness is becoming clear. During last year's flu season, there were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations and eight pediatric deaths in NY.

The CDC tracks pediatric flu deaths closely. This week's data showed outpatient visits for influenza-like illness comprised 7.7% of all visits - up from 7.1% in last week's data.

"We have not peaked in the flu season", said Tammi Brown.

Schuchat also revealed that one in every 10 people who died in the USA last week had suffered flu-like symptoms. But some go for as long as 20 weeks. Inoculations typically lead to less severe symptoms in those who catch the virus.

Influenza A (H3) has been the most frequently-identified influenza virus subtype this season, according to the CDC.

Schuchat said that while this year's virus "isn't new in terms of antigenic drift", virologists are studying it to see if there are "other explanations for the more severe disease we're seeing".

"It's not uncommon for B strains to increase later in the season", Schuchat said. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year.

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Health officials have reported more than 19,000 flu cases in New York City in the week ending on February 3, up by more than 4,000 from the previous week.

According to the latest national assessment, influenza activity remains at peak levels but there are signs that activity is starting to slow down in parts of the country.

Western New York reported the second highest rate: about 90 lab-confirmed cases per 100,000 people. The vast majority of deaths have been in adults over age 65. This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week.

The nationwide flu outbreak could be the worst on record, federal health officials said Friday while releasing a grim report that at least 63 children have died from influenza. People might need to call around to pharmacies to fill a prescription, said Schuchat. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu shot, as it helps reduce the chance of illness and can also lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do get sick. "But there's no doubt, if you put "flu" in different buckets, this is in the really serious bucket".

"When you look at the statewide numbers there's been a lot of deaths and if people don't get out and get protection those numbers will rise".

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

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