Flu season in 'second wave'

Flu killing 4000 every week and is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths in the US right now - with Tamiflu shortages reported

A closer look at SIDS deaths in the United States and the latest on the nation's flu epidemic.

That's higher than last week, when the rate was 51 per every 100,000, and higher than during the fifth week of the 2014-15 season, which recorded about 44 people hospitalized per 100,000.

The viral strain causing the most illness this year, H3N2, causes especially severe illness and is hard to control with vaccination.

Hospitalizations in the 55- to 64-year-old age group and higher levels of influenza-like illness are where the records will be, Schuchat noted. "And that's fine because you know, a lot of times, I just say to the parents, look, if you're anxious, just bring them in, let me listen to the hearts and lungs and make sure there's no super infection", says Dr. Shilpa Patel.

Another 10 children were reported to have died of the flu in the week ending February 3, bringing the total infant mortality so far this season to 63, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director, told reporters.

According to Budd, the CDC works with public health partners to track influenza-like illnesses (ILI) nationally, using a surveillance system that leverages eight different sources of data, including information from physicians' reports about patients with ILI who are seeking medical attention. "In recent weeks, the percent of specimens testing positive for influenza A has been decreasing, while the percent positive for influenza B viruses has continued to increase". "It's a little too early to say we're out of the woods or to say that flu is abating". Scientists are studying circulating viruses to see whether anything unusual is going on, Schuchat said. During an intense season like this one, it is possible to get an infection with both A-strain viruses and B-strain viruses at the same time, and people definitely get sick twice from the flu, with first one strain and then another, she said. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year. Nationwide influenza activity is at 7.7 percent, breaking the 2003-2004 non-pandemic year. However, since the end of December, ILI activity this season has continued to increase beyond those two prior seasons and is "now at the highest level that we've seen since the pandemic in 2009". Previous outbreaks had lasted between 11 and 20 weeks, and the current outbreak was in its 11th week, she said.

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"The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia & influenza is 10.1 percent this week".

One of the worst flu outbreaks in the United States in almost a decade worsened last week and will likely linger for several weeks, causing more deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. We need to "keep being vigilant", she said.

She urged sick people to stay home and said it is still not too late for people to get a flu vaccine, which offers some protection.

But she caught both the H3N2 and H1N1 flu strains two weeks ago.

The dire condition is likely to continue and Schuchat said those who are likely to die are flu patients already in the hospital.

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