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.

RELATED: Infectious Disease Resource Center

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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