undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018

State of Georgia ranks #1 as sickest for flu

10 February 2018, 06:44 | Damon Campbell



Christopher Beveridge, the health protection director for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, said there have been "quite a few" institutional out breaks this flu season.

Officials conceded that they can't predict when the epidemic will end.

"This is a hard flu season and we can't predict how long it will last", CDC acting director Anne Schuchat said at a briefing for reporters.

Action Directs Counties to Promote and Provide Expanded Vaccination Access; Overall 35% Increase in Lab Confirmed Flu Cases and 2% Increase in Hospitalizations Since Last Week.

She said anyone who gets the flu, then feels better, then suddenly starts to feel much worse must get medical attention immediately.

Health officials have reported more than 19,000 flu cases in New York City in the week ending on February 3, up by more than 4,000 from the previous week.

Flu infection rates are rising higher than those in any year since 2009, when the swine flu pandemic hit the country, according to the CDC.

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"We don't have any signs of hospitalizations leveling off yet", said Schuchat. Keeping in mind that this doesn't include deaths from the flu that weren't reported as flu-related, it's clear that this season is risky. But it is a signal of how very intense the flu season has been.

"This season is a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be and how we can never let our guard down", Schuchat continued.

A nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

Additionally, the data show 1 out of every 10 people who died the US over the last week died of either influenza or pneumonia, Schuchat said. The CDC said there is no evidence of antigenic drift in this year's H3N2 strain, and the explanation for this year's particularly high case numbers is still unknown.

"So many states have high activity at the same time", Schuchat said, during the briefing. "Even if you get the flu, your symptoms are likely to be less severe if you are vaccinated". She noted that the Canadian researchers estimated that the flu vaccine is 55 percent effective against influenza B viruses, which typically cause more infections late in the season. This action provides enhanced reimbursement to counties and will help fund expanded efforts to promote and increase access to flu vaccines statewide.

The epidemic is on track to match the most widespread flu outbreak in recent memory, when in 2014-2015 the flu infected 34 million Americans.

Federal health officials have not yet fully studied the effectiveness of this year's vaccine, but Schuchat said data from Canada demonstrate that the current vaccine is not as effective against H3N2 as health officials would have hoped.

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