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Greater than six million individuals have had flu this season — CDC

14 January 2019

At least six children under the age of 10 died after falling ill with the flu so far this season, according to the federal report, which uses information from 12 pediatric hospitals across Canada.

CDC has estimated the burden of flu since 2010.

So far, the flu season has not taken off like it did a year ago, when close to 50 million people caught flu and 80,000 died. The agency estimates that between 6.2 and 7.3 million people had been sick with the flu as of January 5, and about half of them had seen a doctor because of it. Even if someone gets sick with flu, antiviral drugs may be an option, she said, especially for people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

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The CDC's latest report marks the first time the agency has provided relatively current estimates for the total number of influenza cases, doctor's visits and hospitalizations during a given flu season. "But it does not look anywhere as severe as a year ago, " she said. None of those deaths have been children. The CDC says between 69,000 and 84,000 people have been hospitalized due to the flu, and the overall hospitalization rate is about 9 per 100,000 cases.

Pneumonia and influenza mortality was 6.4% for the week ending December 29, 2018, which was below the system-specific epidemic threshold. Fewer than half of Americans ever do.

Quick treatment can save lives, the CDC said.

Public health experts say flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu. People might also get flu by touching a contaminated surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. There are several influenza medications on the market now.

Greater than six million individuals have had flu this season — CDC