Share

US flu season appears milder, one year after brutal one

Share

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s early, but the current flu season is shaping up to be gentler than last winter’s unusually brutal one, U.S. health officials said.

In most parts of the country, most illnesses right now are being caused by a flu strain that leads to fewer hospitalizations and deaths as the kind of flu that dominated a year ago, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines also work better against it, said the CDC’s Dr. Alicia Fry.

So is the U.S. in for a milder flu season?

“If (this strain) continues to be the predominant virus, that is what we’d expect,” Fry said.

Last season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications — the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades. In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000, according to the CDC.

Trending:
Pelosi Melts Down Over SCOTUS Decision, Accuses Republicans of Coordinated Nationwide Plot

The CDC has no estimate of deaths so far this season, partly because it’s so early. Flu usually takes off after Christmas and peaks around February.

On Friday, the CDC released its regular weekly flu update, showing that it was reported to be widespread in 30 states last week, up from 24 the week before.

The health agency also released new estimates of how the flu season is playing out. It said:

—About 6 million to 7 million Americans have become ill since flu season kicked off in the fall.

—About half were sick enough to go to see a doctor.

—Roughly 70,000 to 80,000 have been hospitalized.

The CDC usually doesn’t make those estimates until a flu season is over, but researchers have been working on the model for nearly a decade and believe it is sound enough to use while the season is still going on, officials said.

Because the model is new, CDC researchers said they aren’t able to compare those estimates to previous flu seasons.

Last season, an estimated 49 million Americans got sick from the flu, 23 million went for medical care and 960,000 were hospitalized.

Related:
Jury Finds Man Not Responsible for 'Horrific' Times Square Rampage

Some doctors and nurses were anxious going into this flu season, considering how bad last year was, said Dr. James Steinberg, chief medical officer at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta.

But so far it hasn’t been nearly as severe. “It seems more like a typical flu season,” he said.

___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation