The Flu or seasonal influenza has been spreading across the globe with epic force.
The flu in the United States is more severe than usual, striking the elderly especially hard, health authorities said Friday as they also announced 29 child victims.
The CDC stated that 30 states including New York City are reporting high influenza rates, up from 24 states last week. And more than 5,000 people have required hospitalization to treat their flu symptoms. New York has declared a state of emergency over the crisis.
There is no national reporting system for flu-related deaths among adults, but the CDC said that there is a 8.3 percent in deaths due to pneumonia and influenza. That exceeds the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. The rate of flu- and pneumonia-linked deaths the week before was 7.3 percent. Nine children died last week alone, bringing the total to 29 since the season began in early December. The flu kills an average of about a hundred children in the United States each year. The toll was 34 in 2011-2012.
The severity of the symptoms this year may be explained by the season experiencing a dominant strain of influenza, historically blamed for more serious cases of the virus. So far, about half of confirmed flu cases concern people aged 65 and older, with a high hospitalization rate of 82 per 100,000. The Flu strikes every year across the United States, bringing chills, fever, coughing and achy misery to millions. Health officials said the flu vaccine is a good match for the strain of influenza circulating around the nation, and confers about 62 percent protection against the illness this season.
Officials from the CDC assessed state, local, and territorial health departments, laboratories, vital statistics offices, and health care providers. Activity remained moderate or high in a total of 40 states but was considered widespread in 48 states. There were 3,638 new specimens with positive test results.
Influenza pandemics occur when a new strain of the influenza virus is transmitted to humans from another animal species. Species that are thought to be important in the emergence of new human strains are pigs, chickens and ducks. These novel strains are unaffected by any immunity people may have to older strains of human influenza and can therefore spread extremely rapidly and infect very large numbers of people. Influenza A viruses can occasionally be transmitted from wild birds to other species causing outbreaks in domestic poultry and may give rise to human influenza pandemics.