Flu season still getting worse; now as bad as 2009 swine flu

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

A unsafe United States flu season is still striking the elderly and infants, federal health officials warned on Friday, and looks likely to continue for several weeks. The flu season is now in its 11th week, and it is sometimes hard to determine when it has reached its peak.

Pediatric flu deaths also continue to rise, with 63 children now dead from the flu so far this season.

The flu season is at high levels in 43 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

During a press briefing today, CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat, MD, RADM, USPHS, said 48 states are now experiencing widespread influenza activity with OR and Hawaii indicating regional flu activity. "We may be on track for a record", Anne Schuchat, MD, acting director of the CDC, said on a conference call with the media. The H3N2 flu strain is infecting the most people, according to the CDC. This level is as high as during the peak of the 2009 swine flu pandemic, officials said.

While there were no specifically new strains of the flu this year, the viruses ripping through the USA are hard to control with the flu vaccine. What makes this year particularly tricky is the strain circulating globally this season: H3N2, a strain of the influenza A virus. The CDC said that one out of every 10 deaths in the last week were from the flu, almost 8 percent of all hospital visits were flu-related, and 48 states are experiencing widespread influenza activity.

Luckily, it's not the H1N1 virus of 1918 that's in circulation now, said Alain Gagnon, a Université de Montréal demographer and lead author of a new study that crunched numbers on flu type A, similar to the strain that fuelled the unusually deadly 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that resulted in 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

On the subject of vaccines, Schuchat added that the Department of Health and Human Services is "looking at this season's data very carefully" and understands the "need to talk about longer-term approaches to improved flu vaccines".




A nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

"We had already made the vaccine for this flu season". Forbes reports it can take five to six months to develop a batch of influenza vaccines.

Ross' vaccine is 90 percent to 95 percent effective in animal trials, he said, compared with about 30 percent for this year's human flu vaccine.

Year-to-date laboratory confirmed cases of flu in the state now stand at 8,152.

"Flu B is holding steady, and if anything increasing a little bit", said Dr.

People are also recommended to avoid crowds, wash hands often, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, clean and disinfect surfaces and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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