Flu is now reportedly widespread in over half of the United States.
The term “widespread” is generally used when the flu spreads to over 50 percent of a particular geographic region. However, this applies only to the how the virus is spreading and not necessarily the severity of the situation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical officer Dr. Michael Jhung told the folks over at CNN that this is a “pretty typical” flu season. However, doctors are seeing an increased number of H1N1 (aka swine flu) cases.
States reporting widespread flu increased from 10 to 25 in the span of a week. According to officials at the CDC, states reporting a large number of cases include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington state, and Wyoming.
Although the CDC sees the flu problem as just another season of activity, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy director Michael Osterholm seems to think the situation will likely get pretty bad before everything wraps up.
“Based on what we’re seeing so far, this year will be a very different picture than last year. We fully expect to see many more cases in younger children and middle-aged adults. Mark my word, by the end of next week we’ll probably see some fear and panic as it starts to hit kids,” Osterholm told USA Today.
CDC flu expert Dr. Joe Bresee added, “It’s too early to tell how severe it’s going to be but we’re still on the up slope of the flu season, so what we can expect is more flu, more intense disease and more deaths over the next few weeks.”
If you haven’t taken a trip to your doctor or a local clinic to get a flu shot, then there’s still time to schedule an appointment. Since there’s still rough waters ahead — late January and February are peak months — Bresee recommends getting a shot as soon as possible.
The Inquisitr previously reported that El Paso, Texas experienced 444 cases of flu last month. However, this number was down from the 1,704 cases during December of 2012. Health officials in Texas said 25 people have died from the virus this season.
“Viruses have a tendency to get established and come back in the next few years. The flu season peaks in late January and February. We do expect the flu activity to rise in the next few weeks. There’s a small, narrow opportunity for those who don’t have a vaccine to get it,” Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s Dr. Rahul Gupta explained.
Are you worried about the flu now that it’s labeled as widespread in 25 states?
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