Death toll rises as flu epidemic grips US

The death toll from a flu outbreak gripping the United States has reached epidemic levels and it will be at least several weeks before the outbreak abates, health officials said Friday.

Flu or pneumonia were responsible for 7.3 percent of the deaths reported in 122 cities monitored by the (CDC) for the week ending January 5. That's just above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent.

"Most of the country is seeing or has seen a lot of flu," CDC director Tom Frieden said in a conference call.

"Only time will tell us how long our season will last or how moderate or severe it will be."

Frieden urged people to get protect themselves against the flu with a vaccine, which this year appears to be about 62 percent effective.

"You may have to check in several places to find the vaccine, because most of the more than 130 million doses that were produced by this year have already been given," he cautioned.

There are some indications that the outbreak may have peaked in some areas, but 47 states are still reporting widespread flu activity, Frieden said.

The number of states reporting a high level of flu fell to 24 from 29 states and the number of states reporting moderate levels rose to 16 from nine.

Flu strikes every year across the United States, bringing chills, fever, coughing and achy misery to millions.

The number of annual deaths has ranged from a low of 3,000 to a high of 49,000 since 1976, according to the CDC.

Most of those deaths are among people aged 65 and older.

Some 20 children have died so far this season, up from 18 in the CDC's previous weekly report. It does not collect data on the number of adult in real time.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

'Ebola will return', veteran scientist warns

date 4 hours ago

Congolese expert Jean-Jacques Muyembe may be little known to the public, but he has been one of the world's top Ebola investigators since the first epidemic erupted in central Africa in 1976.

Score IDs patients with upper extremity DVT at low risk

date 19 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For patients with upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), six easily available factors can be used to create a score that identifies those at low risk of adverse events during the first ...

Combined drug treatment combats kidney disease

date May 29, 2015

A recent discovery by drug researchers whereby coupling specific cell membrane receptors has altered kidney cell function has triggered a re-think of how to treat chronic kidney disease (CKD) more effectively.

Active substance targeting dreaded hospital germs

date May 29, 2015

In the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), scientists have conducted clinical studies on an active substance against the dreaded hospital pathogen Staphylococcus aureus: a highly effective protein from bacteriophages ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jo01
Jan 12, 2013
"Frieden urged people to get protect themselves against the flu with a vaccine, which this year appears to be about 62 percent effective."

How is this determined?

J.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.