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United States flu levels continue to climb as 37 kids' deaths confirmed

27 January 2018

The country, meanwhile, is grappling with what is on track to be the worst flu season in almost a decade, with people seeking care at a rate rivaling the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

With seven more pediatric deaths reported last week and influenza-like illness (ILI) numbers that are nearing those seen during the 2009 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that this year's flu season will most likely be considered severe. In most flu seasons, it's usually children under 4 who are the next hardest hit group.

According to the C-D-C 49 of the 50 states are reporting flu outbreaks. California's hospitalization rate this season is four times higher than it was for the same period in 2014-15, one of the most severe flu seasons where H3N2 was also the predominant strain, Jernigan said. "I've diagnosed children with the flu in the last few weeks and the parents are just in tears". During that season, 710,000 Americans were hospitalized with the flu, and over 34 million Americans contracted the flu.

"We swabbed (the patient) for the flu and she came up flu A and B positive", said Dr. Nadine Halliburton-Foster. However, hospitalization rates for people 50 to 64 - baby boomers, mostly - has been unusually high, CDC officials said in the report, which covers the week ending January 20.

Another factor in determining how severe the flu is each year is how numerous widely circulating strains are present in the vaccine, Graham said. During that season, officials estimate there were 56,000 flu-related deaths. The state health department says another 800 plus cases of flu were confirmed in the past week alone.

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Get more information about the flu from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at this link. Among all laboratory samples reported to the CDC last week, 78.5% were influenza A while 21.5% were influenza B. For the season, the split is 82.1%-17.9%.

There is twice as much H1N1 virus causing disease in the boomers this season, as compared to those over age 65, Jernigan said.

"These are folks who would really benefit from higher vaccination rates", he said. "That's very well covered by the flu vaccine, so for people who are vaccinated, if we start to see more of that circulating, they're not going to get sick from it".

The flu vaccine is typically available at your family doctor's office and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most other health insurance providers.

United States flu levels continue to climb as 37 kids' deaths confirmed