In this week’s FluView report released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC stated that some regions may have peaked, while other parts of the country are still on the upswing
Forty seven states reported widespread geographic influenza activity for the week between December 30, 2012 and January 5, 2013. This is an increase from 41 states in the previous week.
One eye opening statistic from the most recent report states that the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza based on the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System is now slightly above the epidemic threshold for the first time this season.
Deadly serious pandemic
Thursday's StarTribune reports that the current Minnesota flu outbreak rivals the deadly pandemic of 2009 with two apparently otherwise healthy teenagers dying from the disease in the past 10 days.
On Wednesday the Boston Herald reported that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency due to the deadly flu outbreak which has killed 18 people so far in Massachusetts.
Comparisons to past pandemics
Minnesota health officials said Wednesday they appear to be in the midst of the worst flu outbreak since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
By November 2009, 48 states had reported cases of H1N1, mostly in young people.
During the deadly Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 approximately 20% to 40% of the worldwide population became ill. An estimated 50 million people died worldwide killing more people than any other illness in recorded history.
Tips to avoid the flu
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
The CDC suggests people wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
Avoid close contact with sick people. When sick yourself, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
It is still too early to tell if this year's flu activity has peaked, or the worst is yet to come. You should keep your guard up to protect yourself against the flu.
As flu season progresses we will watching and reporting on the trends.