Flu Cases Decline but Mortality Rate in Kids Up

The spread of the flu virus in some parts of the United States caused alarm amongst the local health officials. However, the CDC director has noted that the spread has somewhat slowed down in some parts of the country and officials are hoping that the decline will continue until they have completely regained control of the situation.

About 24 states in the US, including New York, had been reported to have experienced high level of the flu activity. This report came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of their regular update on flu activity, which spans between the last week of December and first few weeks of January 2013. In comparison to an earlier report, this means that it is 5 less number of states that are still battling the repercussions of flu activity.

The far West Coast, as noted by Dr. Joseph Bresee of the Influenza Division at CDC, is the only part of the US that is relatively unaffected by the flu spread. The most troubling part of the report concerning the monitoring of flu cases in the country would have to be the number of pediatric deaths resulting from it. In fact, there was an increase of two when compared to previous data.

Reports indicate that 20 of those that had been confirmed death by flu were below the age of 18. This data was gathered since the onset of the flu outbreak in the US. The data for the adult deaths relating to the flu is not conclusive as of the moment, but if some of the local authorities data were to be used as basis, this number could be somewhere near a dozen.

The activity map outlined by the CDC helps to pinpoint exactly where the main focus of the flu activity is, which is also crucial in leading health authorities in terms of focusing their efforts on prevention and recovery. The map shows that the Southeast of the United States is largely affected by the flu outbreak, which includes the following states: Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and South Carolina. New York, along with some other Northeastern states, were also largely affected by the flu spread. On the flip side, states like Hawaii, Mississippi and California shows no signs of flu activity.

The CDC clarifies to the citizens that a state is only tagged as having experienced “widespread” flu activity when more than half of the geographic region is affected. But because this time of year is dubbed as “flu season”, local and national health officials expect flu activity to increase. The fact that influenza activity follows an up and down trend also makes it difficult to make conclusive statements as to the real state of the flu activity in the nation, as well as the affected areas. Close monitoring is required to ensure that the situation is under control.

Officials have promised to closely monitor the situation in the next couple of weeks as part of the Flu 2013 prevention movement. They will determine by then if the flu season has peaked or will continue to see its peak in the coming weeks.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the “[flu epidemic] is still on the upstick.”

One of the reasons why flu 2013 activity had been more serious than it was a few years ago is the fact that flu season came in early this year. Also, the severity of the cases had been increased from last year. This is evident in the city of Boston wherein the city mayor Thomas Menino had said, “this is the worst flu season we’ve seen since 2009, and people should take the threat of flu seriously.”

Right now, health officials within the affected states are joining their efforts in spreading more information about the symptoms of flu. Their focus is directed towards limiting the mortality rate, especially the cases of pediatric deaths.