HealthDay News — The flu season is picking up steam, with about 7 million Americans having been struck by a strain of the flu virus, health officials said Friday.
Almost half of those individuals went to a doctor, while 69,000 to 84,000 people have been hospitalized for flu-related illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new release. As of Jan. 5, 15 states and New York City were reporting high flu activity, and it was widespread in 30 states. The influenza A strain H1N1 remains the most common type of flu. This strain has been circulating and was pandemic in 2009 and in 1918.
“H1N1 is the most common [strain] in most of the country,” Lynnette Brammer, M.P.H., head of the CDC domestic influenza surveillance team, said last week. “But it’s odd that in the Southeast, the H3N2 virus is more common.” The influenza A H3N2 strain was responsible for the severity of last year’s flu season. When that strain predominated, nearly 1 million Americans were hospitalized and 80,000 died. The CDC does not track adult deaths from flu but does track pediatric deaths. As of Jan. 5, influenza-related pediatric deaths reported to the CDC for the 2018-2019 flu season totaled 16.
According to the CDC, flu activity was widespread in 30 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.