"We are now in the midst of a very active flu season with much of the nation experiencing widespread and intense activity", CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald told reporters during a briefing. The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, reports widespread outbreaks of the flu. "It's not your regular virus that gives you a couple days of runny nose", said Dr. Claire Bocchini, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Children's Hospital. Given the millions who are vulnerable to flu and the thousands of deaths each year, this is a big payoff in public health. During the same time period, 211 flu cases in ME required hospitalization, about 27 percent.
But having a free flu jab remains a very sensible choice for people in at-risk groups, and for those over the age of 65.
The number of people stricken by flu continues rising across Canada, with 15,572 laboratory-confirmed cases as of Saturday, said the Public Health Agency of Canada on Friday.
Montgomery County health officials confirmed a man in his 70s died January 9 due to the flu.
There have been 48 flu-related deaths in England so far this winter. "In total, there have been 113 influenza associated hospital admissions since the beginning of this season and over 65% of those patients are aged 65 years and above", said the report.
On Monday, The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced dozens of elective surgeries would be cancelled to accommodate influenza patients.
Most of the cases are in the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, but there are also cases in both Morriston and Singleton hospital in Swansea. Complications, which may be serious, can include pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear and sinus infections.
TODAY'S FORECAST: Rain, temperature drop throughout the day
Saturday isn't expected to see above-freezing temperatures, with a high of only 29 degrees and a low Saturday night of 13. Thursday there will be rain or freezing rain before 4 p.m. then a chance of rain, snow and freezing rain between 4-5 p.m.
According to the CDC, everyone 6 months of age and older should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year.
"But the vaccine covers a lot more than just the H3N2 strain", Honeycutt said. However, those who get a shot and still contract the flu experience milder and shorter symptoms, research suggests. "And 32 percent is better than no protection". It's not yet known how effective the vaccine is for this season.
"Fever-you don't necessarily always get that with other respiratory illnesses".
The new numbers indicate a sharp increase during the final week of 2017. During the week that ended December 31, there were 2,887 laboratory-confirmed cases. The CDC is calling it an epidemic.
An outbreak of flu in the area before Christmas saw 50 students out in the Silver School District, many from Cliff, which canceled classes and their Christmas program due to so many kids being out sick. Around 90 people died of flu in Ireland a year ago. "We don't have a crystal ball".
For the first time in more than a decade, the entire continental United States shows widespread flu activity, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said Friday, and the number of people hospitalized has almost doubled from last week.