The current flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in years, according to health experts, with cases of influenza surging in the past week in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The surge is led by a particularly deadly strain of influenza and, unfortunately for the populations of both the US and the UK, the outbreak in both countries is likely still moving toward its peak.
The Daily Mail reported this week that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta released data indicating that the flu is already rampant in 36 states and responsible for at least 70 deaths thus far. Thus far, 512 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported to the CDC during this flue season.
Approximately 9.2 million people in the US have contracted the flu since 2010.
At the same time, Public Health England (PHE) announced that cases of the flu have jumped 156 percent in just one week — with over 1,100 people contracting influenza, a doubling over the number infected in the previous seven-day period.
The PHE also noted that 23 people had died so far this year, nearly a third of which succumbed in the past week.
In the UK, the number of cases are reportedly 10 times higher than they were in 2015 at the same time. The US also experienced a high rate of influenza cases during the same flu season.
Influenza outbreaks are an ongoing phenomenon that kill from between 290,000 and 650,000 people worldwide every year, according to statistics garnered by the World Health Organization (WHO). The particular strain wreaking havoc this flu season is the H3N2 strain, a virulent form that saw over 1,000 people seeking medical attention and hospitalized in Australia during its most recent flu season (during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer). Strain H3N2 is a subtype of Influenza A, and it was responsible for a two-and-a-half times jump over the normal rate of cases in Australia.
The CDC estimates that between 3,000 and 49,000 people died in the United States as a result of flu-related symptoms. In the last decade, the flu season of 2012-2013 is believed to have been the worst, where flu-associated deaths reached an estimated high of 56,000.