USA flu levels now rival 2009 swine flu — CDC

USA flu levels now rival 2009 swine flu — CDC

"We may be on track to break some recent records".

Schuchat added, "We don't know if we have hit the peak yet".

Reports of visits to doctors' offices and emergency rooms for influenza-like illness reached 7.7% for the week, up from 7.1% the previous week and topping a previous high (for a nonpandemic year) of 7.6% in the 2003-2004 season. It's a particularly severe strain that isn't easily stopped by the current vaccine.

Middle-aged people are being stricken at almost twice the rate seen in 2014-15, although health officials aren't sure why.

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 State Health Department reported another record level of confirmed flu cases in NY again last week, totaling 15,753. Typically, widespread flu activity affects regions across the country at different times, she noted. Flu seasons dominated by H3N2 tend to be more severe and result in more hospitalizations.

The CDC said 10 children died of the flu in the week ending February 3, bringing the total pediatric death count to 63.

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The first flu death in the age range of 0-4 years old was reported this week as part of an overall jump in flu deaths to 167 in total for the season.

"This season is a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be and how we can never let our guard down", Schuchat continued. Schuchat said those groups needn't wait for laboratory confirmation before being treated with an antiviral drug. "Influenza-like illness is now at the same level as the peak week of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic". That figure includes the death of an 8-year-old girl in Queens who died earlier this week, one day after being diagnosed with the flu.

"In 2014-15, that number was 35.1 per 1,000". "It is not uncommon for B strains to increase late in the season". "We're getting used to it", Marchetti said. "This years' virus isn't new in terms of antigenic risk". The agency's virologists are studying it to determine if there are any other explanations for why it's been so hard-hitting. So, Schuchat said, it's still not too late to get vaccinated.

"This is a severe flu season, and unfortunately there are no signs that it has peaked yet", said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association, told HealthDay. "If it looks like flu, treat it", said Schuchat.

"These egg-adaptations during vaccine production can lead to decreased match between the circulating viruses and the viruses in the vaccine". And some protection is better than none. The flu shot will remain effective for roughly six months. If you get the flu, take steps to prevent passing the infection to others.

The flu is "spread by respiratory droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets". Be sure to disinfect possibly contaminated surfaces and objects. Schuchat urged people to stay home from school and work, if affected with influenza. Once flu symptoms appear, people are contagious for five to seven days.

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