Flu Season One of the Worst in a Decade According to the CDC

This flu season is shaping up as one of the nastiest in years, and it isn’t showing any signs of easing, U.S. health officials said Friday.

Every state except Hawaii continues to experience widespread activity, with the more virulent H3N2 strain continuing to dominate, according to the latest weekly update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After the holidays, “flu activity became widespread within almost all states and jurisdictions at the same time,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the CDC’s influenza division, said during a media briefing Friday morning.

“We often see different parts of the country light up at different times, but for the past three weeks the entire country has been experiencing lots of flu all at the same time,” Jernigan noted.

And the flu that people have been catching has been more severe, he added, with hospitalizations “tracking at the same level as 2014-15, which was the last high-severity season we had.” That was also a season when H3N2 was the dominant strain.

At this point, “6.6 percent of clinic and ED visits are flu-related,” Jernigan said. “This is the highest level of activity recorded since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which peaked at 7.7 percent.”

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SOURCES: Jan. 26, 2018, media briefing with Daniel Jernigan, M.D., director, influenza division, U.S. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jan. 26, 2018, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "FluView"; American Lung Association, news release, Jan. 19, 2018

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