This winter’s flu season is on track to be one of the worst in more than a decade, and it hasn’t peaked yet, according to health officials. The most recent reporting week ending Feb. 8 was a particularly deadly week for the flu outbreak in California with 62 people dying from influenza.
The flu season started early last year, and experts believe there is reason to expect it to last well into the spring, hitting younger people particularly hard. During the first week of this month, three children died from the flu, bringing the state’s pediatric death total to 12 so far this season. Nationally, the number of child fatalities — 92 — is the worst since the nasty flu season of 2009-10, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Health officials say it’s the double-barreled hit of the Influenza A and B strains causing so many illnesses this year. And Influenza B, which hits young people harder, tends to stick around longer into the spring.
“We have not yet peaked for influenza. We are still on our way up,” Dr. David Weber, a University of North Carolina infectious-diseases specialist, told the Los Angeles Times.
So far this season, 14,000 people in the U.S. have died due to flu-related illnesses and complications, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 26 million people have been stricken with the flu, and of those, 250,000 required hospitalization.
The percentage of virus specimens testing positive for influenza was 28.3 percent this week.
This week, cases tested positive for Influenza A at 70 percent compared to Influenza B, which comprised 30 percent of cases statewide. This is a notable change, as B strains dominated the first several weeks. But Influenza B maywell still be a threat because it’s the one that tends to last longer into the spring months.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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