Nine more children have died in the past week due to flu-associated illnesses, according to federal health officials – bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 29 this season.
It has been a particularly bad flu season for children, and health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday the elderly are also affected.
Hospitalization rates for people 65 and older rose sharply in the most recent reporting period, which ended January 11.
Thirty states and New York City are reporting high levels of influenza-like activity, which is up from 24 states last week. Forty-eight states are reporting widespread flu activity, up from 47 last week.
Flu activity is still decreasing in the South, but increasing in the West, according to officials. These types of ebbs and flows are normal, the CDC said, and are likely due to the early start of flu season.
Federal health officials told Fox News this year’s flu season is “probably” half finished, based on what they’ve seen in past years. However, officials emphasized the word “probably,” because the flu is so hard to predict.
Manufacturers originally projected they would produce 135 million doses of flu vaccine this season. They have since increased that estimate to 145 million. As of January 11, 129 million doses have been distributed.
Officials want to urge physicians to order more vaccine, as the flu season is still ongoing. Patients should know it’s not too late to get the vaccine, as it is the best protection against the illness.
FOX News Network