Pace of influenza activity picking up across the US

Pace of influenza activity picking up across the united states

(HealthDay)—The pace of flu activity continues to quicken across the United States, and probably hasn't peaked yet, according to an assessment by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Right now, the heaviest is occurring along the East and West Coasts, Lynnette Brammer, M.P.H., a CDC epidemiologist, told HealthDay. "The Northwest has been hit harder and earlier, and activity could have peaked there, but we won't know that for a couple of weeks," she said.

Only the center of the country has been largely spared, but Brammer expects flu activity to increase there over the next several weeks. The dominant strain right now is H3N2, which often signals a severe season that affects the oldest and youngest people the hardest, she said. H1N1 and B viruses are also circulating.

"We may be approaching a peak in H3N2 viruses, but H1N1 viruses could increase as the H3s go down," Brammer said. "And it's not uncommon to see a second wave of influenza B, because right now we haven't seen much B." This year's vaccine contains all the circulating viruses, she added, but it may be less effective against the H3N2 virus.

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