Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CDC: U.S. On Track For 'Severe' Flu Season

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 9:21 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a New Year's wish: for more Americans to get a flu shot.

The CDC said this morning that the nation is the grip of what could develop into a "severe" flu season—with the H3N2 virus mutating soon after this year's vaccine was created, rendering it less effective. The CDC pointed to all of the deaths reported nationwide during the week ending Dec. 7 and said nearly 7 percent were pneumonia or flu-related. To date, influenza is widespread in 36 states. Thus far, Idaho is reporting only a "regional" geographic spread.

There were 109 flu-related deaths in children last year, and 171 in the 2012-13 season. There were more hospitalizations so far this year compared to the same time in the previous two seasons, however.

The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older, for as long as the flu virus is circulating. The CDC estimates that only 40 percent of Americans that should get the vaccine have done so.

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