#4 Flu Reaches Epidemic Proportions in the United States
In just the third week of 2017, the influenza virus in the United States has reached epidemic levels, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As the 2016-2017 flu season continues, health officials in 37 states have now reported widespread flu activity, which is up from the previous week’s tally of 29 states. High flu activity, reported in seven states a week prior, is now affecting the 10 states of Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee, along with New York City. Surveillance laboratories have confirmed at least 25,628 flu-positive specimens, 87% of which have been influenza A viruses.
With the three flu-related pediatric deaths reported in the week ending January 21, a total of eight children have died of influenza-related illness so far this season. In the 2015-2016 flu season, the CDC reported 89 pediatric deaths associated with the flu, a number that fell from the total of 148 deaths reported during the 2014-2015 flu season. One of the recent deaths included a 6-year-old boy from Ohio, a tragedy that led the school where the boy attended kindergarten to cancel classes and offer grief counseling. The Ohio Department of Health has reported that the state’s widespread flu activity has led to at least 654 hospitalizations, and with no vaccine shortages in the state, health officials are urging Ohio residents to protect themselves from the virus by receiving flu shots.
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