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from Jane Weaver and Felix Gusone, MD
The flu is already widespread in 36 countries, with at least 11.4 million people suffering from influenza from October, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported. While the current epidemic shows no signs of mortality such as the 2017-2018 flu season that killed 80,000 people in the United States, the cases have not yet reached their peak. CDC expects increased flu activity to last for weeks.
According to the CDC estimates, between October 1, 2018 and January 19, 2019, there were 136,000 flu hospitalizations, with the worst cases among Americans aged 65 and over.
Three more children died in the week between January 12 and January 19, bringing the total number for the season to 22, roughly the same number of children who died of influenza at the same time last year.
Schools across the country, including the provinces of Alabama, Idaho, Minnesota, and Tennessee, report an ending this week due to flu.
Until now, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, most common in the US, since early October, although there may be later waves of different strains such as influenza B.
"I see mainly A, but I'm starting to see a few B," said Pediatrician Dr. Shilla Patel of Rockley, New Jersey. "Simple influenza B is more intense than influenza A."
Is it too late to shoot flu?
The CDC has not yet reported how well the flu vaccine season 2018-2018 protects against circulating viruses, but there is still time to take pictures.
"I think this vaccine does a great job this year and we see a mild flu in children," Patel said. "People eventually feel so comfortable and think that this is a mild season of influenza, but they still have to be vaccinated."