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The Flu Season Hasn’t Been This Bad (25,000 To 41,500 Deaths) In 20 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Influenza season not as severe as recent years, but highest rate in March since 1998. The Flu Season Hasn’t Been This Bad (25,000 To 41,500 Deaths) In 20 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

On average, the flu kills between 12,000 and 56,000 people in the U.S. each season, according to the CDC.

The percentage of doctor visits for flulike symptoms last week, 4.4%, is the highest figure for this time of the year since 1998, the first season the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking flu prevalence this way.

While this season hasn’t been as extreme as some in recent years, it has been a long one. It is still widespread in 42 states, though that’s down from 47 states and Puerto Rico last week, the CDC says.

“When you get to spring, people stop thinking about the flu because they think the flu is a wintertime illness,” said Lynnette Brammer, the head of the CDC’s Domestic Influenza Surveillance team. “There’s still a lot of flu out there.”

Flu season typically begins in October, peaking in between December and February. This year follows that trend, with the percentage of doctor visits for flulike symptoms peaking around mid-to-late February. Just over 5% of visits were for flulike symptoms at that time.

Usually, the flulike symptoms drop quickly after the peak of the season, said Ms. Brammer, but this season those symptoms have plateaued.

“It looks like we still have a ways to go,” she said.

The peak was due largely to the prevalence of the H1N1 virus, a strain of influenza A that tends to take less of a toll than some other strains, especially for people aged 65 and older.

But the spread of a second strain, H3N2, has been on the rise since early February. The influenza A subtype is known for its severity and was the predominant strain during the severe 2017-18 flu season, which had an estimated 959,000 hospitalizations and 79,400 flu-related deaths, according to the CDC.

During this flu season, the CDC estimates that as many as 454,000 people were hospitalized with the flu from the beginning of October through March 16, 2019. The estimated deaths so far range from 25,000 to 41,500, and there have been 76 confirmed pediatric deaths.

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