FRIDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- The flu season may not be
over, but the worst of it seems to be.
Flu activity, although still elevated, declined in most parts of
the United States during the week ending March 2, U.S. health
officials reported Friday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Four states experienced moderate flu activity: Illinois,
Michigan, Vermont and Virginia.Thirteen states experienced low fIu activity: Alabama, Arizona,
Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New
Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah. New York City also
experienced low activity.Thirty-three states experienced minimal activity: Alaska,
Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa,
Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico,
North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West
Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The flu continued to hit older people hard, with slightly more
than 50 percent of hospitalizations involving those 65 years and
Eighty-seven children have died from the flu this season, with
six deaths reported last week, the CDC said.
There is no system to report adult deaths from flu, but the
agency said the number of deaths remains higher than the threshold
used to declare a flu epidemic.
The predominant strain of circulating flu this season continues
to be influenza A H3N2, which typically poses bigger problems for
young children and the elderly, according to the CDC. But
predominant strains can vary across states and regions of the
country, the agency noted, with more B strains appearing last
The 87 pediatric deaths so far compare to 153 deaths reported
during the 2003-04 season, which was another H3N2 season, the
An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu and its
complications in a typical season, according to the CDC. From 1976
to 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States
ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000
Flu season usually peaks in late January or early February.
The best defense against the flu remains the flu vaccine, the
CDC said. The agency recommends that everyone 6 months of age and
older get vaccinated.
Two antiviral medications, Tamiflu and Relenza, can reduce flu
symptoms and the course of the disease. To be effective, however,
they must be started within 48 hours after symptoms appear.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, head and body aches,
and runny nose. People at particular risk for flu and its
complications include pregnant women, those 65 and older and anyone
with a chronic illness. The CDC urges these people to get the flu
vaccine, which is available as an injection or nasal spray and in a
stronger dose for seniors.
For more on flu, visit the
U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.