They also are seeing evidence that a more severe flu virus is spreading to more states.
Last season, the CDC gauges 80,000 individuals died of influenza and its complexities, the most astounding loss of life in something like four decades.
This season's flu vaccine reduces the need to go to the doctor's office by about half, according to figures released Thursday. The 2011-2012 season was the last time health authorities saw a mix somewhere in the range of H1N1 and H3N2, he said.
There were 28 flu-related pediatric deaths reported to the CDC as of February 2, and among the 26 children with a known medical history, 46% had ≥1 underlying medical condition recognized by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The vaccine's overall effectiveness in kids is 61 percent this season. A flu shot is still recommended for those who have neglected to get one, but the CDC estimated this year's vaccine's overall effectiveness in preventing an infection at just 47%.
- The current season's flu shot is better than last season's vaccine and is protecting children relatively well, the CDC said. "People should continue to get vaccinated as the flu season is not over yet". "Perhaps not surprising, but what we're finding is that vaccinating more people would prevent much more flu, but the impact of increasing coverage is a bit different by age".
It's not too late to get a flu shot. During the 2017-18 season, vaccination averted an estimated 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 8,000 influenza-associated deaths.
The CDC also recommends antiviral medication for people "with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness; who require hospitalization; or who are at high risk for influenza complications". Last year, the vaccine's effective rate was 32 percent. This year, H1N1 - which is more easily targeted by the flu shot - has been circulating most widely, leading to less-severe and fewer illnesses overall.
For the first time, the CDC is providing flu prevalence estimates, and as of February 2, the authors wrote, influenza is estimated to have caused 9,600-15,900 deaths and 155,000-186,000 hospitalizations.
For more about the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you feel yourself becoming sick, keep in mind to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and if you are sick, stay home if possible.