64 flu-related child deaths so far this season — CDC

Flu Season Peaked But A New Influenza Strain Takes The Lead

There were as many as 26.3 million flu illnesses, 12.4 million medical visits and 347,000 flu hospitalizations between October 1 and March 2, according to the weekly flu report released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The H3N2 strain was the culprit behind 62 percent of the reported flu cases for the last week of February, the CDC reported. The season usually ends in May.

The CDC said it expects flu activity to remain elevated over the next month.

This flu season has marked a return to more typical numbers after last year's widespread outbreak of the virus, which prompted the federal Centers for Disease Control to classify the virus as "high severity across all age groups" in the US for the first time.

Flu activity remains high across the nation, and there's a second wave of severe infections striking some states. There were a total of 23 adult deaths in Douglas county and no pediatric deaths a year ago according to their 2017-2018 flu season report.

This extremely contagious respiratory disease can pose a particular health threat to those over 65 and young children who might have underlying medical conditions, like asthma, or weakened immune systems that lead to further complications like pneumonia.

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Dr. David Cutler of the Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, warned "Since there are multiple strains of flu virus going around, it is certainly possible to get the flu a couple of times".

So far, an estimated 26 million cases have been reported, resulting in almost 350,00 hospitalizations and more than 30,000 deaths. But for the past two weeks, more illnesses have been tied to a more severe strain, H3N2, the CDC reports.

It is still recommending the annual flu vaccine for anyone six months or older as seasonal flu viruses continue to circulate, and vaccination can less symptoms even when infected and helps stops the spread of the disease particularly to those unable to get immunized.

As March began, many believed that flu season was on its way out.

One death was associated with an influenza A (H3) virus and occurred during week nine.

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