Flu still on the rise, hospitalizations high, CDC says

Flu still on the rise, hospitalizations high, CDC says

Flu still on the rise, hospitalizations high, CDC says

About one in every 10 people who died last week nationwide succumbed to influenza in a season so fierce it is on track to be one of the worst flu epidemics on record, a top federal health official said Friday.

Flu is now sickening and hospitalizing Americans at rates not seen in almost a decade, and the season is still getting worse, federal health officials said Friday. In the last five years, influenza-like activity in the US has remained elevated anywhere from 11 to 20 weeks, meaning there could still be several more weeks of increased flu activity.

Schuchat said hospitalizations also have increased for people who have developed bacterial pneumonia as a outcome of the flu.

Indiana's weekly influenza report for the period ending February 3 shows 128 of the state's flu deaths have occurred among people age 65 or older. Hawaii and OR are the only states reported as having lower levels of the virus.

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"We were hoping to have better news to share this week", acting CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said.

Caused by viruses, flu is a contagious respiratory illness with mild to severe symptoms that can sometimes lead to death.

Secretary Azar discussed his experience overseeing HHS ongoing flu activities and his time working with other public health leaders during his previous time at HHS.

The rate of flu activity is similar to the rate in 2009, which was the last flu pandemic, "though that doesn't mean we're having a pandemic", Schuchat said.

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Doctors are reporting that some patients have been infected with H3N2, the primary A strain of the flu, along with a B strain.

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

The CDC weekly influenza report shows that 17,101 laboratory-confirmed cases have led to hospitalizations between October 1, 2017, and February 3.

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec covered efforts, in collaboration with the private sector, to develop and procure pandemic flu vaccines in greater volume and with greater effectiveness. This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week. Scientists are studying circulating viruses to see if anything unusual is going on, Schuchat said.

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"It's a little too early to say we're out of the woods or to say that flu is abating", Nordlund said.

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