CDC: Worst flu season in years


According to the Centers for Disease Control, all 50 states are now reporting widespread flu.

"We're seeing the worst of it right now", said Randy Bergen, a pediatrician who is leading the anti-flu effort for Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

USA flu experts say they won't fully know how effective this season's vaccine is until the season is over.

Almost half of the total flu cases were reported in Maricopa County. As of the first week in January (the most recent data available), 49 states had widespread flu activity, including CT.

Flu symptoms are generally more severe than seasonal colds, which rarely causes a fever or headache, only sometimes includes fatigue and results in less severe body aches. But Australia's experience suggests effectiveness was only about 10 percent.

"If you suspect you have the flu, consider seeing your primary care physician". Studies show that for children, a shot can significantly reduce the risk of dying.

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He says that equates to 18,000 Vermonters with flu symptoms, and that only accounts for people who went to see a doctor about getting sick.

"Some protection is better than no protection", Bergen said, "but it's certainly disappointing to have a vaccine that's just not as effective as we'd like it to be". Social distancing is important because people who have the flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away through droplets made by coughing, sneezing or talking.

In addition to the vaccination, you can avoid spreading the flu by staying home if you're sick and washing your hands frequently. That means 26 states are considered high intensity and have reported 12-14% of patients have flu-like illnesses, including NY City. Levine says if you feel any of these symptoms you should see a doctor to make sure you don't have the flu.

Overall, 12 people have died from influenza.

Kathy Harben, chief of the news media branch at CDC, said the agency, "provides for the common defense of the country against all health threats", adding that planning for grand rounds began last April and the topic was set well in advance.