Flu season in 'second wave'

Teacher on Life Support as Worst Flu Outbreak in Years Engulfs US

All 10 regions reported a proportion of outpatient visits for ILI at or above their region-specific baseline levels. Two states experienced low ILI activity (North Dakota and Utah).

The flu epidemic remains widespread in almost all states, and experts say it could be a record-breaking season. In Oregon and Hawaii, flu is occurring at a more limited regional level, rather than statewide.

Data from 50 USA states were collected and categorized so that influenza spread activities were determined by region and age group. The federal health agency also recommended people 65 years or older receive a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination. Hospitalization rates for younger children 0-4 years were 40.4 per 100,000.

The flu epidemic is present in 48 states. This percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 7.3% for week 3 in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System. Ten new deaths happened during week five. The CDC considers the 2014-15 season "moderately severe" with high levels of illness, hospitalizations and deaths compared with previous seasons and has used it as a comparison to the current season.

"We found the smart thermometer data are highly correlated with information obtained from traditional public health surveillance systems and can be used to improve forecasting of influenza-like illness activity, possibly giving warnings of changes in disease activity weeks in advance", Aaron Miller, a postdoctoral scholar at University of Iowa in the USA, was quoted as saying in worldwide media outlets. The CDC also reported that between January 28-Feb.

'Neal said it was hard to predict how effective the flu shot is while the season is occurring but said even if it isn't ideal, it will still provide protection from other strains of the flu and could moderate some of the symptoms of a strain that isn't completely prevented. Based on a recent Canadian report, the effectiveness against B strain viruses is estimated to be about 55%. Current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. The most frequently identified influenza virus subtype reported by public health laboratories was influenza A (H3N2) virus. "Of the influenza A viruses with subtype information, 84 percent were H3 viruses".

"Unfortunately, flu can spread rapidly in communal settings like classrooms and nursing homes, but no one is immune from the flu", Dr. Box said.

Influenza B viruses are not divided into subtypes but are further broken down into lineages and strains. While the majority of the tested viruses showed susceptibility to the antiviral drugs, four (1.1%) H1N1pdm09 viruses were resistant to both oseltamivir and peramivir, but was sensitive to zanamivir.

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