News

CDC: Flu widespread in U.S., young urged to get vaccinated

CDC: Flu widespread in U.S., young urged to get vaccinated

FLU SHOT: More than half of the country is reporting widespread cases of the flu. Photo: Associated Press

By Marina Lopes

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly half of the United States is reporting widespread influenza activity, most of it attributed to the H1N1 virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

Thousands of people die every year from flu, which peaks in the United States between October and March. The flu is spreading quickly this season, with 25 states already reporting cases, the CDC said.

“We are seeing a big uptick in disease in the past couple of weeks. The virus is all around the United States right now,” said Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of Epidemiology and Prevention in the CDC’s Influenza Division.

In 2009-2010, the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, spread from Central Mexico to 74 other countries, killing an estimated 284,000 people, according to the CDC.

While younger people were more susceptible to H1N1 in 2009, Bresee said it is too early to tell whether the same will be true this year.

This season’s virus has killed six children in the United States, according to CDC data. The agency does not track adult deaths, but dozens have been reported around the country.

“There is still a lot of season to come. If folks haven’t been vaccinated, we recommend they do it now,” Bresee said.

Texas has been one of the harder hits states, where at least 25 people have died this season from the flu, local health officials said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued an “influenza health alert” on December 20, advising clinicians to consider antiviral treatment, even if an initial rapid-flu test comes back negative. Texas health officials also encouraged people to get a flu vaccination.

“The flu is considered widespread in Texas,” Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the state’s health department, said.

(Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)

Recent Headlines

2 hours ago in Election 2016, National

Fiorina drops out of the presidential race

Fresh
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina waits to be introduced at a campaign event at Maple Avenue Elementary School Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Goffstown, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The former technology executive announced on Twitter that she is suspending her campaign.

3 hours ago in Election 2016, National

Christie expected to end 2016 White House bid

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embraces his son Patrick during a primary night rally in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. At left is Christie's older son Andrew and wife Mary Pat at right. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Christie had banked his presidential prospects on a strong finish in New Hampshire, but finished behind most Republican rivals.

4 hours ago in National

Yellen: Fed not likely to reverse course on rates despite risks

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Chances are slim the Federal Reserve would need to reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December.

4 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Twitter to change homepage to customize tweet displays to individuals

Updated
A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The change to the timeline - as the homepage is known - is also designed to appeal to advertisers.

8 hours ago in National

Senate to vote on hitting North Korea with tougher sanctions

northkorea

The Senate is considering legislation to hit North Korea with more stringent sanctions.