Flu season could get worse before it gets better

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USA health officials reported more bad news on Friday regarding the country's ongoing, deadly flu season: doctors across the country are seeing more cases, hospitalizations and deaths from flu, and there's no sign it's letting up.

The study looked at the number of deaths attributed to flu in the United States and Mexico between 1997 and 2014, and cross-referenced date of birth.

The agency reported another 10 deaths among U.S. children this season, bringing the total to 63 so far.

This season's deadly flu epidemic has led to widespread crowding of hospitals and doctors' offices across the state.

"I wish there was better news this week, but nearly everything we're looking at is bad news", Schuchat said at a news conference.

The CDC reports that hospitalizations have also increased over the past five weeks.

Deaths from influenza and pneumonia, which are closely tied to each other in the winter months, were responsible for one of every 10 deaths in the USA last week, and that's likely to rise, Schuchat said on Friday (Saturday NZ time).

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The newest weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the country is experiencing the highest rate of flu-like illnesses since the flu pandemic of 2009.

The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. This year's predominant flu strain, H3N2, is very good at quickly shape-shifting to elude vaccines and immune systems, so this year's flu vaccine, while helpful, is not as effective as those from previous years. The CDC said that one out of every 10 deaths in the last week were from the flu, almost 8 percent of all hospital visits were flu-related, and 48 states are experiencing widespread influenza activity.

According to the CDC, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, as long as influenza viruses are circulating.

Get a flu shot.

This flu season is presently over 11 weeks old, and the normal flu season endures four months.

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec covered efforts, in collaboration with the private sector, to develop and procure pandemic flu vaccines in greater volume and with greater effectiveness.

Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Some Local clinics are running short of flu vaccines, this means patients may have to call more than one outpatient clinic or pharmacy. Sick people should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It's even possible for a person to be infected with both types of the virus at once.

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