Flu Activity Spreads to 35 States
During this winter season, flu activity has already spread to the majority of the United States. According to the report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity can be seen in 35 states. The number of affected states was just 25 last week.
"We're in the thick of flu season," Lyn Finelli, a CDC flu expert, stated according to FOX News.
The CDC calculated that since October, there have been 2,622 nation-wide hospitalizations related to this season's flu virus. The number increased by 50 percent from last week's estimate of 1,039 hospitalizations. The CDC found that the most affected age group so far is surprisingly people aged 18 to 64, making up roughly 61.5 percent of the cases. This age group encompasses healthy adults, which are often considered low risk for the flu. During last year's flu season, seniors over the age of 65 were the most vulnerable group.
Throughout the country, several states have reported young and healthy causalities. In North Carolina, there have been 21 deaths due to the flu and 19 of them were young and middle-aged adults. The majority of these adults, however, did have underlying health conditions that could have exacerbated their infection. In California, officials reported that a healthy 23-year-old died from the flu. Due to the potential effects of the flu on healthy people, officials continue to remind everyone, regardless of age, to get vaccinated.
"High levels of flu activity are likely to continue for several weeks. If you have not gotten your flu vaccination yet this season, you should get one now," the CDC warns according to the New York Daily News.
Dr. Ron Chapman, the director of the California Department of Public Health, added, "Our flu season may not peak for several more weeks, so I encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves, but those with whom they come into contact,"
Despite the recent surge in the number of flu-related hospitalizations, this year's numbers are still lower than last year's. Experts have stated that it is too soon to tell if this season's flu will end up being worse than last year's. However, experts believe that the flu has yet to peak. The flu tends to peak from mid-January to February.