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Deadly Flu Season In Full Swing, Up To 4000 Weekly Deaths Recorded

12 February 2018

Flu-related hospitalizations rose to about 60 people out of every 100,000 in the fifth week of 2018, the CDC said Friday in its weekly surveillance report.

A total of 63 pediatric deaths were recorded since the onset of the flu season in October 2017. They say they haven't seen numbers this high since 2009, the year of the swine flu pandemic.

CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat said this flu season is likely to break new records.

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A special education teacher in Texas is reportedly on life support after contracting both strains of influenza, as the worst flu season in years engulfs the United States. Circulating flu strains this season are a mix of H3N2, H1N1 and B viruses.

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However, the stories of otherwise healthy people dying from the virus are really shocking and frightening. The majority of deaths have been adults over age 65.

When it comes to pneumonia and influenza mortality, as of the week ending January 13, 9.1 percent of deaths were attributed to pneumonia and influenza.

So far this flu season, these labs have reported information on nearly 600,000 tested specimens. "That was our most severe recent season, and we're quite a bit higher than that", Schuchat said.

"This season is now following within expected range in terms of the number of weeks of elevated activity, but the actual level of activity is pretty remarkable", Budd observed.

The virus causing the most illness has been around for decades.

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There are early indications, including data from Australia and Canada, that vaccination against H3N2 was less effective than usual this year, in the range of 10% to 17%, instead of the usual 30% or so.

Schuchat said the nation is now in the eleventh week of the 2017-2018 flu season, and almost all states remain rife with the virus, except for OR and Hawaii.

"During this most recent week, 80 percent of the viruses reported by public health labs were influenza A, and 20 percent were influenza B", she observed. She urged parents who see signs of worsening illness in a child - such as difficulty breathing or a fever that goes away, then returns - to seek immediate medical care.

"With the CDC reporting that we've not yet reached the peak of flu season and the potential for flu activity for several more weeks, we're following the situation closely and making every effort to have flu shots available in all of our pharmacies", says Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy.

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Deadly Flu Season In Full Swing, Up To 4000 Weekly Deaths Recorded