Weekly Influenza News

Influenza News: April 26, 2019

CDC reports 96 pediatric deaths related to influenza viruses during the 2018-2019 flu season

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According to new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2018-2019 flu season has significantly decreased during Week #16. 

This is the first-week influenza activity was below the national baseline since mid-November 2018

This is good news for everyone!

And, the CDC says the vast majority of influenza viruses show susceptibility to antiviral medications, such as oseltamivir, peramivir, and zanamivir.   

Antivirals are prescription medicines available in pill, liquid, inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution that fight against the impact flu viruses have on your body.

These products are not sold OTC in a pharmacy, as you need a prescription from a healthcare provider to purchase these medications. 

Unfortunately, the CDC published more bad news regarding pediatric deaths as of April 20, 2019.

During Week #15, there were 5 additional fatalities were reported as of April 20, 2019.

This new data increases the total number of pediatric deaths to 96 during the 2018-2019 flu season. This information compares with 186 pediatric deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season. 

Additionally, the CDC is estimating a total of flu-related adult deaths to reach between 35,600 to 59,500 adults.

Further CDC estimates include: 

  • 36,900,000 – 42,400,000 symptomatic illnesses
  • 17,00,000 – 19,900,000 medical visits
  • 518,000 – 630,000 hospitalizations

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The CDC says there are 2 main types of influenza viruses: Types A and B. Over the course of a flu season, different types, A & B, and subtypes of influenza circulate and cause illness.

The Week #16 key indicators are as follows:

  • During the most recent three weeks, influenza A(H3) viruses were reported more frequently than influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses nationally, and in all 10 HHS Regions.
  • The majority of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and influenza B viruses characterized antigenically are similar to the cell-grown reference viruses representing the 2018–2019 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine viruses.
  • The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) decreased to 2.1%, which is below the national baseline of 2.2%.
  • The geographic spread of influenza in five states was reported as widespread; Puerto Rico and 17 states reported regional activity; 19 states reported local activity; the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and nine states reported sporadic activity; and Guam did not report.
  • A cumulative rate of 64.2 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported.

The CDC says there are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year, such as; keeping you from getting sick from the flu, reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, and helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.   

Moreover, flu shots help protect women during and after pregnancy. And getting vaccinated while pregnant can also protect a baby from influenza viruses after birth.

And, if you are planning to visit a country in the ‘Southern Hemisphere’, such as Australia, their flu season is just beginning. 

Which means you may need to get the flu shot recommended for that country. 

Since there are various flu vaccines available, it is always best to discuss your personal situation with a healthcare provider.

And, flu vaccine discounts and financial assistance can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

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