As per a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16 more kids have died due to influenza this year, bringing the total child death rate to over 50 for this season alone, which started in October 2017.
The report indicated that flu activity is currently widespread within 48 states, as well as Puerto Rico, a decrease from 49 in the past weeks. As per Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director for the CDC, this year has been a ‘difficult season’.
The CDC also revealed an increase in the percentages around patients who went to health care providers across the U.S., complaining of flu-like conditions; a hike of over one percent for the week ending in January 27th. Which prompted a CDC spokesperson to state that the illness has not hit a peak as of yet, with still many more weeks to come.
As per the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the flu season this year is a rival when it comes to the worst in recent times. Numbers offer an insight, with over 17,000 new confirmed cases via labs, for January 27th week’s end. This brings up the total for the season to over 126,100. It’s important to note, these numbers don’t reflect those who may have had influenza and have not sought medical attention.
CNN reported that there are reports the CDC had received antiviral drug shortages in certain areas; however, manufacturers have said products are available.
As per the CDC, virus strains circulating include H1N1, H3N2, as well as both B strains. Still, it seems to be an overwhelming H3N2 type of year, where this type of strain is linked to increased hospitalization, complications, and fatalities.
This year’s virus strain has also been a challenge when it comes to the flu vaccine. Canadian researchers found in a study that the shot only proved to be 10 percent effective when it came to the H3N2 virus, even though it’s offered increased protection in the past when it came to other strains.
Hospitalization rates for the week ending January 27th is approximately at 51 individuals for each 100,000, a higher number than this time during the 2014/15 season, which was thought to be ‘moderately severe’ by CDC at the time.