The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially declared influenza an epidemic this season after the death of 15 children due to complications from the illness. Twenty-two states have reported a high level of “influenza-like” illness activity and outbreaks have occurred in every region of the country. An increase in the number of hospitalizations related to influenza has also been observed, particularly for seniors and children under the age of 4.
Approximately 90% of influenza infections have been linked to the H3N2 subtype this year and the epidemic is predicted to peak at the end of this month. Despite warnings by the CDC that this year’s vaccine may not be as effective against influenza this season, it is still recommended that patients (especially those at risk of complications) receive the current vaccine.
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