America's flu outbreak reached its worst point of season January 13, as the USA health officials say 32 states, Puerto Rico, and the New York City area were all designated "high activity" areas for the flu. "One hundred percent of respiratory illnesses have been because people either breathe in when someone sneezes those droplets or they have touched contaminated surfaces and then touched their T-zone".
Relatively high numbers of cases have been reported in most of the country. It's been around for decades, but doctors dread seasons in which it dominates because it tends to cause worse illnesses in already-vulnerable groups, including people over age 65 and children.
Ten children died of influenza-associated symptoms between January 6 and January 13, indicating that the flu is still on the rise.
For older people, the CDC estimates deaths based on pneumonia and influenza. The hospitalization rate is now at 31.5 people per 100,000 US residents. "We have had more than 200 confirmed flu cases this season".
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"These sentences would make it appear - and I think it's a good decision - that influenza surveillance would continue", William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told BuzzFeed News right after the shutdown began.
While influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been the most common circulating nationally, at times this season influenza B has been the most common strain circulating in some areas of the state.
"I urge all residents who have not yet had the flu shot to take advantage of this influenza vaccination program", said Mayor David Martin, who personally receives the flu shot every year.
"Given that we're seeing so much flu activity, particularly people who are high risk, the elderly, children under 2, pregnant women, and people with chronic health problems, should talk to their doctors about antiviral medications to treat the Illness", said Brammer.
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Channel 2's Rikki Klaus asked some people near the CDC their thoughts on the timing.
The flu became intense last month in the U.S. The last two weekly report show flu widespread over the entire continental United States, which is unusual. Australia - whose experience USA public health officials follow closely in making their flu forecasts, in part because Australia's winter is our summer - reported a record-high number of confirmed flu cases in 2017.
With the flu running rampant through Oklahoma, the Woodward Health Department is encouraging the public to take preventative measures, specifically in the workplace, in addition to the recommended flu vaccine.
"And it's really not like that", he said. He added that these people are requiring "pretty significant therapy". "That's double what we saw previous year".
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The only certainty is this: With the flu season likely to last for several more months, officials and clinicians say it's still not too late to get a flu shot.