By Elaine Owen (From CDC DATA)
Seasonal influenza activity in the United States continues to increase and has been elevated for six weeks now.
The flu is widespread in 30 states and has caused almost 2,000 deaths this season, including 19 children, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Nearly every state has reported elevated activity, the CDC said in its weekly update Friday.
The CDC estimated there have been at least 3.7 million flu cases this season, 32,000 requiring hospitalization. It reported 1,900 deaths.
Most patients are infected with a strain called B/Victoria that usually doesn’t appear until the end of flu season. The virus tends to strike children and young adults more often, but anyone can be affected, according to the CDC.
The weekly report finds widespread flu in Puerto Rico and 30 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
● The 2019-2020 season is underway; all regions of the country
are seeing elevated levels of flu-like illness.
● Activity is being caused mostly by influenza B/Victoria viruses, which is unusual for this time of year. A(H1N1) viruses are the next most common and are increasing in proportion relative to other influenza viruses in some regions.
● CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 3.7 million flu illnesses, 32,000 hospitalizations and 1,800 deaths from flu.
● It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Flu vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.
● Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the four FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the U.S. this season.