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In U.S Holiday Season, Flu Hospitalizations Increase Nearly 30%

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In U.S Holiday Season, Flu Hospitalizations Increase Nearly 30%

CTN NEWS –  As respiratory diseases continue to spread rapidly over the majority of the United States, hospitalizations for flu have surged by almost 30% in a week.

According to data from the Health and Human Services Department, more than 11,200 people were hospitalized with the flu during the week ending Nov. 19 compared to roughly 8,700 patients admitted during the previous week.

This season’s flu outbreak has been exceptionally severe and early, placing stress on emergency rooms around the country. Regular flu activity increases around Thanksgiving, in November, and hospitalizations were already high.

The number of flu hospitalizations will increase even more

After millions of people traveled to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, scientists and public health professionals fear that the number of flu hospitalizations will increase even more.

Christmas is also coming up in a few short weeks, giving the flu one more chance to spread quickly. Since early October, there have been 11 out of every 100,000 hospitalized patients for the flu, the highest number in ten years.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6.2 million individuals have been unwell this season, 53,000 have been admitted to hospitals, and 2,900 have passed away.

Scott Hensley, a microbiologist and flu expert

Scott Hensley, a microbiologist and flu expert at the Penn Institute for Immunology, expressed his anxiety about the situation, saying, “I’m worried that we’re already at this high level going into the holiday season.”

Hensley claimed that the population’s immunity is likely at its lowest point in recent memory, which explains why the flu has been more severe early this year.

He claimed that because of the masking and social seclusion measures implemented during Covid, the flu essentially went extinct for two years.

Antibody boost from illness

Large segments of the population may be more susceptible to the flu this year than in previous seasons due to not receiving an antibody boost from illness.

With hospitalization rates around twice the national norm, seniors and young children under the age of five are the most at risk. A flu strain that’s more dangerous for seniors is now circulating in the U.S.

The influenza A(H3N2) strain was detected in more than 60% of flu samples examined by public health laboratories, according to the CDC.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist

This is well described. According to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, H3N2 has a more serious effect on older people, resulting in more hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and fatalities.

H3N2 is typically resistant to flu vaccines, but there is optimism that this season will be different. The majority of flu virus strains that were examined resemble those in the 2018 vaccine, according to the CDC.

Although data on vaccine effectiveness have not yet been made public, shots typically perform better when they are closely matched to the circulating variants.

Flu vaccine efficacy varied widely from 19% to 60% depending

In previous seasons, flu vaccine efficacy varied widely from 19% to 60% depending on how well the shots were compared to the circulating strains.

Hensley stated, From what we can tell, it appears that the vaccines are pretty darn good matches to what’s circulating. This year is the perfect opportunity to get vaccinated, he said.

According to the CDC, flu activity peaked in the Southeast a few weeks ago, but the majority of the nation is now experiencing high levels of illness.

Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Wyoming all have moderate to low flu activity levels.

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