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ASPartOfMe
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20 Nov 2022, 8:39 pm

Flu variant that hits kids and seniors harder than other strains is dominant in U.S. right now

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A variant of the flu that hits kids and seniors worse than other strains of the virus is dominant in the U.S. right now, setting the country up for a potentially bad flu season.

Public health labs have detected influenza A(H3N2) in 76% of the more than 3,500 respiratory samples that have tested positive for the flu and were analyzed for the virus subtype, according to a surveillance report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The H3N2 variant has been associated with more severe flu seasons for children and the elderly in the past, according to Dr. Jose Romero, director the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease.

“There are also early signs of influenza causing severe illness in precisely these two groups of individuals this season,” Romero told reporters on a call earlier this month.

The flu hospitalization rate has surged to a decade high this season. Overall, about 8 people per 100,000 are being hospitalized with the flu right now but seniors and the youngest children are much harder hit than other age groups, according to CDC data.

The hospitalization rate for seniors is more than double the general population at 18 per 100,000. For kids younger than age five, the hospitalization rate is about 13 per 100,000.

t least 4.4 million people have fallen ill with the flu, 38,000 have been hospitalized, and 2,100 have died since the season started. Seven kids have died from the flu so far this season.

“When we have more H3N2, we usually have a more severe flu season — so longer duration, more children affected, more children with severe disease,” said Dr. Andi Shane, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert at Children’s Healthcare Atlanta.

The other influenza A variant, H1N1, is generally associated with less severe seasons compared with H3N2, Shane said. H1N1 makes up about 22% of sample that have tested positive for flu and were analyzed for a subtype, according to CDC.

The percentage of patients reporting symptoms similar to the flu, a fever of 100 degrees or greater plus a sore throat or cough, is the highest in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and Washington D.C right now, according to CDC.

Respiratory illnesses are also very high in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas, according to CDC.


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CarlM
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20 Nov 2022, 10:34 pm

Here's a webpage with plenty of scary flu data that might convince you to stay safe from it.
Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report
I'm glad I got the vax and should probably keep using the mask.


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lostonearth35
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20 Nov 2022, 10:43 pm

I'm worried about my 70 year old mother and my aunt, my mom's older sister, going out to eat in restaurants or Christmas shopping right now. But i can't really tell them not to. We were going to eat out for supper last week but cancelled it. My mother said it wasn't because of all the diseases going around, it just gets dark too early now and she doesn't have good night vision when she drives.

But they might just decide to go out earlier. I will not. I hate the human race for putting us through all this garbage. We got our flu shots but I know they won't be enough. The viruses are always changing and mutating and then the vaccines will be worthless. And the Pollyannas who refuse to do anything to prevent spreading the flu are even worse.



Caz72
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21 Nov 2022, 10:55 pm

the more we hide away from these viruses the worse they will get

covid lockdowns are what has made flu and other viruses more prominent since it seems


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Doberdoofus
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24 Nov 2022, 10:09 am

Caz72 wrote:
the more we hide away from these viruses the worse they will get

covid lockdowns are what has made flu and other viruses more prominent since it seems


Can you explain your logic on these opinions, do you have any scientific data corroborating your opinions?


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Nades
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24 Nov 2022, 12:38 pm

Caz72 wrote:
the more we hide away from these viruses the worse they will get

covid lockdowns are what has made flu and other viruses more prominent since it seems


That's always how it goes. Our bodies will always lose immunity even to mild viruses if we're never exposed to them.

That's why mild viruses like the common cold can decimate an uncontacted tribe.



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24 Nov 2022, 9:33 pm

I never stopped masking.I will never feel safe in a crowd without one now.


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Persephone29
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24 Nov 2022, 10:48 pm

I don't particularly want to catch the flu, I keep a mask in my pocket if someone is hacking up a lung. But, zero exposure to anything isn't healthy either. That's what killed many First Nations people. Living in isolation from all bacteria/viruses creates weak immune systems.


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ASPartOfMe
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30 Nov 2022, 8:40 pm

Two-thirds of states reporting 'very high' or 'high' levels of flu-like activity: CDC

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Two-thirds of states across the country are reporting either "very high" or "high" levels of influenza-like activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report.

As of the week ending Nov. 19, the latest date for which data is available, 16 states as well as New York City and Washington, D.C. are reporting "very high" levels while 17 states are reporting "high" levels.

By comparison, during this time last year, all states were reporting "low" or "moderate" levels of activity with only New Mexico and Rhode Island reporting "high" levels.

The data comes as experts have warned that the flu season has begun earlier than usual, with cases on par with those seen typically seen in winter and causing hospital beds to fill up quickly.

So far, this flu season, there have been at least 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths from flu, according to CDC estimates.

Although influenza-like illness is at the highest level at this point in the season in recent memory -- the rate of increase has slowed down over the last two weeks.

In addition, five influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported this week, for a total of 12 deaths among children reported so far this season.

What's more, CDC is reporting most influenza viruses tested match well to this season's influenza vaccine.

Among adults aged 18 and older, as of mid-October -- the latest date for which data is available -- 26.3% were vaccinated against the flu compared with 23% last year, according to the CDC dashboard.

Vaccination coverage among children aged 6 months and older is roughly the same with 35.4% vaccinated as of the week ending Nov. 5 compared to 35.3% at the same time one year earlier.


How Long Does Flu Shot Protection Last?
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On average, flu shots provide protection for 6 to 8 months, although an individual’s immune system is likely to affect the durability of a vaccine, according to Judith James, MD, PhD, vice president of clinical affairs at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

The influenza virus mutates rapidly, so the flu vaccine must be different every year. Consequently, experts recommend getting a new flu vaccine annually.

For children aged 6 months to 8 years who are getting their first flu shots, the CDC recommends 2 doses that are spaced out at least 4 weeks. Children in this age group are more likely to benefit from boosters, because their bodies must develop a protective response against the influenza virus. Two doses of the vaccine were also shown to decrease their risk of contracting influenza by approximately 50%.

For adults, 2 doses of the flu vaccine have not been shown to have more benefits than 1 dose, so adults are advised to only get 1 dose each influenza season.


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ASPartOfMe
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05 Dec 2022, 6:05 pm

How bad is the flu this year? CDC map looks grim

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Unless you live in one of four states, the flu situation looks to be growing dire near you.

Nearly every state is reporting “high” or “very high” flu activity, according to tracking by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only four states – Alaska, Michigan, New Hampshire and Vermont – have “low” or “minimal” activity. Two more states, Hawaii and West Virginia, have a “moderate” level of influenza infections.

As of Friday, most states were in the worst category for flu activity, “very high.” In recent weeks, the worst flu activity has largely been in the South. But as of late November, states all over the map (California, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington) were in the most alarming tier.

More than 25% of people who tested for flu this week were positive, according to results reported to the CDC.

People aren’t just getting sick with the virus – many are ending up in the hospital. Nearly 20,000 people were admitted to the hospital with influenza last week. The number of flu-related hospital admissions “almost doubled” compared to the week before, the CDC said.

The number of hospitalizations we’ve seen so far this year is already higher than any flu season since 2010-2011.

Fourteen children have died so far this season.

The map, updated Friday, contains data collected through the Thanksgiving week.

The CDC map isn’t based on confirmed influenza lab tests but rather tracks where people are going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms (respiratory illness and fever, plus a cough or sore throat). Because of that, the map “may capture patient visits due to other respiratory pathogens that cause similar symptoms,” the agency explains.

While COVID-19 cases have remained pretty flat over the past several weeks, both the flu and RSV have spread widely.

Dr. Andrew Pekosz, a virologist and professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, believes the U.S. is still in the “early stages” of a surge in influenza cases, he told Nexstar.

“For influenza, we are still on the upside of the curve, and we really have no idea what the peak number of cases will be and when that will happen,” he said.

RSV numbers may be hitting a plateau, he said, “but they’re still at a very high level. So the burden of RSV is still great, but we may be closer to the peak there than we are with flu.”


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman