CDC: Up to 84000 Americans hospitalized with flu in past three months

Flu taking toll in California, other states, but having milder impact nationwide, data show

In the past, the CDC has waited until the end of the season to release estimates of how many people have been affected by flu.

Flu season kicks off in earnest in October each year, though patients can still be susceptible to certain strains in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The weekly flu report published Friday by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that from Dec. 30 to January 5, lab-confirmed influenza cases are down from the week prior, suggesting the flu season may have reached its peak during the last week of December.

Flu season is in full swing in the Hudson Valley, with dozens of reported cases now being treated by doctors in the area.

According to NBC News, an estimated 6 to 7 million people have had the flu so far this season.

The agency continues to recommend vaccination as the best way to reduce the risk of flu and advised people who are at high risk category to approach hospital for treatment with a flu antiviral drug.

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By comparison, there were 195 pediatric hospitalizations over the same period last season. 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.

"People get lulled into the idea that [influenza] is not as serious as it can be, especially for those most vulnerable", Dr. Russell said.

This brings the total children to die from the flu this season to 16, 12 females and 4 males. Fewer than half of Americans ever do.

The CDC said that reported cases tend to increase in November before peaking between December and February.

It's certainly within time to still get [the flu vaccine] now.

She and other public-health experts urged Canadians who have not yet been vaccinated to get the shot as soon as possible.

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