Flu Is On Track To Infect 34 Million People In The US

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In all, there have been 130 deaths and 3,108 hospital admissions due to the flu this season.

"The previously recorded high for that was 7.6 percent for a non-pandemic year in 2003-2004", Schuchat said.

"I think they were anticipating we were going to reach a plateau and start to decline", said Ted Ross, the director of the Center for Vaccines and Immunology at the University of Georgia, who works on flu. One out of every 10 people who died in the United States last week died of flu or associated illness.

These outbreaks can be vexing, because about 97 percent of long-term-stay residents in Minnesota facilities have been vaccinated, said Doug Bearsley, vice president of member services for Care Providers of Minnesota, a trade group for the state nursing home industry. The health department provides the four strain vaccine that protects against influenza A, influenza B, the B/Victoria lineage strain and the B/Yamagata lineage strain. Nordlund said. Anytime H3N2 strains are dominant, as they are now, "we tend to see more severe disease more hospitalizations, more deaths".

But at the same time, reports of Influenza B infections are on the upswing, according to the CDC.

Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department's spokesperson, said the department is looking into expanding outreach for flu shots, particularly aimed at vulnerable populations like the elderly, homeless or young children.

"It's not uncommon for B strains to increase later in the season", Schuchat said.

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Avoid any contact with sick people, Downes said, and, if you do get sick, limit your exposure to others to keep from infecting them.

- Right now, we're in the middle of flu season, and at the Osceola County Department of Health, workers gave out 300 free influenza shots on Friday. OR and Hawaii are the two exceptions.

According to the CDC's weekly surveillance report, there were 14,094 new confirmed cases ending February 3, bringing the season total of reported illness to 151,983.

The levels of influenza-like illnesses being reported in the USA now are as high as the peak of the swine flu epidemic in 2009, and exceed the last severe seasonal flu outbreak in 2003 when a new strain started circulating.

The vast majority of deaths come from people 65 years or older, with 128 deaths. This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week.

Ten more children have died of the flu nationwide, bringing the total number of youth fatalities to 63 since the season started on October 1, according to federal health officials. "It's the flu is nearly over and then there is sepsis or pneumonia", said John Mahan, Director of Nursing, Savannah Square. As she did in a briefing a week ago, Schuchat recommended flu shots for those who have not yet received one.

Even though the flu vaccine has low effectiveness against H3N2 viruses, it is more effective against other flu viruses, Schuchat said. You can catch a different active strain. Randy Bergen, clinical lead for Kaiser Permanente's flu vaccination program in Northern California.