According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, younger- and middle-aged adults were hit particularly hard this influenza season. Statistics revealed that people aged 18–64 comprised 61% of all hospitalizations from influenza, a significant increase from 35% just three seasons ago.
An additional analysis showed that the influenza vaccine reduced a person’s risk of seeing the doctor for the flu by ~60% across all ages. Flu activity is likely to last for a number of weeks according to the U.S. flu surveillance data.
The demographic that is most affected by the flu varies by season and by the predominant virus. The current H1N1 virus caused a pandemic in 2009, which led to high rates of hospitalization and death in younger- and middle-aged adults. The report noted that this was the first season since the pandemic that the virus has been predominant in the U.S. Thus, more younger- and middle-aged adults are being affected with severe illness.
When the H3N2 viruses were predominantly circulating last influenza season, adults aged 18–64 years represented only 35% of hospitalizations. Then during the pandemic of 2009–2010, that age group accounted for about 56% of hospitalizations.
A similar trend was seen for influenza deaths where more incidences occurred in this younger age group. People aged 24–64 years accounted for about 60% of flu deaths this season vs. 18%, 30%, and 47% the previous three seasons, respectively. During the pandemic of 2009–2010, that age group accounted for about 63% of hospitalizations.
People at high-risk for flu complications include: pregnant women, people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease, people who are morbidly obese and people >65 years or children < 5 years–especially those <2 years.
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