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Opps – Flu gaining steam in the U.S. as vaccination rates lag

The Flu rates are going up according the the CDC

Flu activity in many parts of the United States are starting to rise more rapidly, signaling that a troubling flu season is on the horizon.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reported Friday 11/17/2023.

With Americans set to travel for Thanksgiving gatherings next week.  People who’ve been waiting to get a flu shot should think about acting now to get vaccinated!

The intergenerational mixing of families during the holidays and holiday shopping for Thanksgiving and Christmas often helps flu spread more quickly through the population. “It’s a perfect environment for influenza activity to take off – one sneeze does it”.  Flu vaccine uptake so far is trailing last year’s rates by a few percentage points.  The CDC estimates at this point about 35% of adults have had a flu shot.  Among children ages 6 months to 17 years, about 32.6% have been vaccinated, also down a bit from this time last year.  This is not good!

October 2023 Statistics for the Flu

Flu hospitalizations have also been on the rise, with the CDC estimating that since the beginning of October there have been about 780,000 symptomatic flu cases, 360,000 medical visits for flu, 8,000 hospitalizations, and 490 flu deaths.

The dominant virus so far this year is influenza A H1N1.  There is some influenza B circulating as well. Thus far the circulating viruses seem to be well matched to those the quadrivalent flu shot targets.

The CDC’s weekly influenza report, FluView, showed that in the week ending Nov. 11, 4% of people who were tested for flu were infected with the virus.  That’s an increase from the previous week’s estimate of about 2.6%.

Both figures are far below what will be seen when flu activity is at its peak.  That is the good news.  The percentage of positive tests can be as high as 25%. The pace at which the percent of positive tests are increasing suggests the country is heading in a bad direction for the coming two months.   We will be watching the Flu view and reporting more on the Flu season.

Keep safe – get vaccinated for the Flu!