A nurse fills a syringe with anti-flu medication in this November 2015 photo.
Published January 21, 2018
PAGE, ARIZONA – Influenza is “in lots of places” right now and it is peaking across the United States, said Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan.
“Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now,” Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Navajo Times on Friday. “There’s lots of flu in lots of places.”
Jernigan says this is the first time in 13 years that the entire continental U.S. is the same color on the graph, meaning that there is widespread flu activity across the country at this point.
“What we can see is that there has been a very rapid increase in the numbers of people coming in to see their doctors or their health care providers,” he said, noting that the CDC works with around 2,000 providers who give information about what is happening in the clinics across the country.
“So, what we’re seeing is the season has started early, and that it is probably peaking right about now,” he said.
Influenza A (or H3N2) has been the most common form of influenza this season, said CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald. And these viruses are often linked to more severe illnesses, especially among children and people 65 years and older.
“When H3 viruses are predominate, we tend to have a worse flu season with more hospitalizations and more deaths,” Fitzgerald told the Times.
Jernigan says there is also a rapid rise in the number of people being hospitalized for laboratory-confirmed flu. In the past week, hospitalizations have nearly doubled from 13.7 per 100,000 to 22.7 per 100,000. And 20 children have died from the flu so far.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.