Flu more widespread in U.S.; eases off in some areas
NEW YORK — Flu is more widespread across the nation, but the number of hard-hit states has declined, health officials said Friday.
Flu season started early this winter, and includes a strain that tends to make people sicker. Health officials have forecast a potentially bad flu season, following last year's unusually mild one.
The latest numbers, however, hint that the flu season may already have peaked in some spots.
Flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. Many cases may be mild. The only states without widespread flu are California, Mississippi and Hawaii
The hardest hit states dropped to 24 from 29. Those are states where large numbers of people have been treated for flu-like illness.
Those with less activity include Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina in South, the first region hit in the current flu season.
Nationally, 20 children have died from the flu. There is no running tally of adult deaths, but the CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.
Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months or older. Health officials are still recommending vaccinations, even in areas with widespread flu reports.
Nearly 130 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed this year, and at least 112 million have been used, according to CDC officials.
Vaccine is still available, but supplies may have run low in some locations, health officials say.
Also on Friday, CDC officials said a recent study of more than 1,100 people has concluded the current flu vaccine is 62 percent effective. That's in line with how effective the vaccine has been in other years.
The flu vaccine is reformulated each year, and officials say this year's version is a good match to the viruses going around.
Flu usually peaks in midwinter. Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue. Some people also suffer vomiting and diarrhea, and some develop pneumonia or other severe complications.
Most people with flu have a mild illness. But people with severe symptoms should see a doctor. They may be given antiviral drugs or other medications to ease symptoms.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mortgage deal isn’t likely to cost $17B
- Beheading doesn’t deter U.S., who launches new airstrikes
- Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission
- Contraception, abstinence push U.S. teen birthrates to historic lows
- Last 4 hostages freed in suburban Chicago
- Cleanup follows heavy storms in Phoenix area
- Navy boots 34 in cheating scandal
- Florida looks good: Farmer’s Almanac predicts ‘super-cold’ winter, above-average snow for Northeast
- Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile destroyed, U.S. declares
- Fuel oil spills into Ohio River
- Latest Ferguson protests are smaller, more subdued