Significant increases in flu activity in the United States have occurred in the last two weeks. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently published that 48 states and Puerto Rico have already reported cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza and, nationally, the percentage of influenza-positive specimens is quickly rising.
With the exception of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, this is the earliest that the nation has hit the influenza-like-illness (ILI) baseline since the 2003–2004 season, which was early and severe, especially for children. Currently, flu activity is most intense in the south central and southeast of the country; however, it shows signs of increasing across the rest of the country as well. Most of the viruses characterized so far have been H3N2 viruses, which are typically associated with more severe seasons.
In the past, the CDC observed that influenza vaccination has declined rapidly after Thanksgiving. The CDC is urging everyone >6 months old to get a flu vaccination each year. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of serious flu-related complications, like young children and people >65 years, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
For more information call (800) CDC-INFO or visit www.cdc.gov/flu.