#3: 2016-2017 Flu Season Losing Momentum but Far from Over
Although the 2016-2017 flu season in the United States has proven to be milder for some, those aged 65 years and older were hit particularly hard by this year’s predominant strain of the virus: H3N2. In fact, the recent FluView report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the flu hospitalization rates for this age group is currently at 155.2 per 100,000 individuals, higher than any other age group.
The season continues to wind down, though, with the number of individuals who saw their healthcare provider for flu-like symptoms this past week down .4% from the previous week (4.8% vs 5.2%). The virus continues to be active in 44 states. In some of these states, such as in Massachusetts—where the flu seemed to hit its peak early in the season—the virus led to fewer hospitalizations than were seen during the 2014-2015 flu season. However, those over the age of 65 saw more severe illness and hospitalizations this year.
Conversely, flu activity still remains high in Maryland, prompting several hospitals in Baltimore to put restrictions in place on visitors in an effort to contain the spread of the virus to patients from those who may be infected. A total of 52% of all influenza-related hospitalizations in Maryland are patients who are 65 years of age and older.
This year's influenza vaccine has been found to be 48% effective at preventing illness; however, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal
has suggested that vitamin D supplementation can work to complement that effectiveness. The researchers noted, “a 12% reduction in the proportion of participants experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection among those taking vitamin D.”
To read more about the latest on the 2016-2017 flu season and the effects of vitamin D supplementation, click here