Weekly Influenza News
Updated
June 24th, 2019

Flu News in the USA Looks Positive

CDC reports 111 pediatric deaths related to influenza viruses during the 2018-2019 season

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The flu news this week has many positive attributes, but with one exception.     

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2 additional influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2018-2019 influenza season, Week #20, ending May 18, 2019. 

And, 1 additional death that occurred during the previous season. 

The CDC’s revised totals are 111 pediatric deaths during the current season, and 187 during the 2017-2018 season. 

One indicator that the current flu season is ending is the number of doctor-patient visits related to the flu.

According to this week’s CDC report, the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness remained at 1.5 percent, which is below the national baseline of 2.2 percent. 

Widespread influenza activity was reported by one state, Massachusetts. And, the states of Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina reported no flu activity last week. 

Moreover, when defining which flu virus is most prevalent, the CDC says during the last 3 weeks, influenza A(H3) viruses were reported more frequently than influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses. 

Regardless of which virus is currently spreading, the CDC strongly suggest everyone get a flu shot. 

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The CDC continues to clarify that the ‘flu’ is different from a common cold, as this contagious respiratory illness is caused by various influenza viruses.

These viruses can infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, causing mild to severe illness.   

The composition of influenza vaccines is reviewed annually by various health leaders and is updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. 

For the 2019-2020 flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, trivalent (3-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus

Quadrivalent (4-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:

  • the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.

In the USA, most pharmacies offer antiviral medicines and various flu vaccines.

To help those without access to insurance programs, financial assistance programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts. 

Recent influenza news:

Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules,  CDC vaccine price list,  international travel alerts,  and how to report vaccine side effects.