Flu now considered epidemic in US as hospitalizations climb during peak season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the nation is at peak flu season, as the disease is now considered to be an epidemic, based on its medical impact, the federal agency said today.

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The rate of hospitalizations for pneumonia and the flu is continuing to climb amid a CDC warning of several more weeks of significant flu activity.

“What we’re seeing this year — the influenza season started earlier and seems to be peaking right about now,” Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at the CDC, told “GMA” Wednesday.

“That’s about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking,” he said, “so lots of cases [are] happening, in lots of states, all at the same time.”

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There were seven pediatric flu deaths last week, bringing the total to 20 for the flu season that started Oct. 1, the CDC said.

Trips to the doctor for flu-like illnesses might be starting to stabilize; 26 states were reporting high-levels of outpatient visits, the same as the prior week.

High flu activity has been reported in New York City as well as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, the CDC said.

Outbreaks of the flu have closed some schools in states including Alabama, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

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PHOTO: 2017 – 2018 Influenza Season

Antiviral drugs are also approved and recommended for treatment if taken within 48 hours of the beginning of symptoms. They can prevent serious…

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