Yup- the CDC upgraded the flu season in the US to epidemic. Where are the numbers?
- Another 10 pediatric deaths this past week, bringing to total to 63 during the season,
- ~1 out of every 2000 people are being hospitalized due to flu-like illness, and
- 1 of every 10 US deaths this past week were due to either flu or pneumonia
This week 11 of possibly 20+ of the flu season is pretty awful.
In most states, the predominant strain is still the H3N2, which has never had great vaccine coverage- although you are still like to have less risk of hospitalization or death if you have had the flu vaccine due to some cross protection. The B flu strain is about ~16% of cases, and the H1N1 ( the nasty “Swine” flu from the 2009 epidemic is ~ 10% of what’s out there. In some Western states, the reports may have started showing the flu showing down.
The entire picture is muddled with the onset of the adenovirus infections, which mimic flu-like symptoms. Unless a person is tested for flu, a person who thinks they have the flu might actually have adenovirus. It takes a health professional to figure out the difference. The flu has Tamiflu that you can be rep scribed to help symptoms. Tamiflu does not work on Adenovirus. In some cases, intravenous cidofovir is given in the hospital to help with adenovirus.
Outpatient visits for “Flu-like Illness” where up to ~ 7.7% this past week. Our hospital went on “Code Purple” again this week- meaning we had no more beds, no room for patients, and anyone showing up had to be sent somewhere else. That’s a scary position to be in. And we aren’t the only hospital in town in that position.
Check out the CDC graphs below for some interesting pic of what’s going on.
In the meantime, please stay home if you are sick– I’m not trying to be selfish, but no one else really wants you at work or school so badly that you infect someone else. And if you get flu like symptoms- go get medical care within 24-48 hours to get Tamiflu to help you fight off the flu virus. And finally, if you haven’t gotten the flu vaccine yet, please do! We still have weeks likely for this season, and we may not have seen the peak of infection yet.