DENVER, CO – Flu activity continues to increase in the United States as the disease is now widespread in all but three states. According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 28 children have died from flu-related causes during the ongoing flu season.
The H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) continues to be the predominant strain in most of the country while the H3N2 virus has predominated in the Southeast. FDA Director Scott Gottlieb has said that the H1N1 strain tends to peak late in the season but that the vaccine has a 60 percent effectiveness or more against it.
Early estimates from the CDC found that by mid-November 2018, 45.6 percent of children aged between 6 months to 17 years old had been vaccinated against the flu, an increase of 6.8 percent compared to early estimates from the previous season. For adults 18 and older, the CDC’s estimates showed that by mid-November, 44.9 percent had been vaccinated against the flu, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to early estimates from the previous season.
The latest figures released by the CDC on Friday are current for the week ending Feb.8. Between Oct. 1, 2018, through Feb.2, the CDC estimates that there have been between 13.2 million to 15.2 million flu illnesses in the United States, 6.2 million to 7.2 million flu-related medical visits and between 155,000-186,000 flu hospitalizations.
Colorado is one of the 47 states where flu activity is widespread, and one of the 24 states with the highest flu activity. The only states not reporting widespread flu activity are West Virginia, Alaska, and Hawaii. The geographic spread of flu activity does not measure the severity of the virus.
So far, during the 2018-19 flu season, Colorado has seen 1,684 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of influenza. There have been 18 confirmed outbreaks in long-term care facilities. One child aged under 18 years has died.
Flu can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The groups most at risk are older adults, very young children, pregnant women and those with certain chronic medical conditions, according to the CDC.
You can use the CDC’s flu vaccine finder to locate a pharmacy or clinic near you that provides the vaccine:
According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills (Though not everyone with flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.