Not only has a new strain of the norovirus hit America, but the early flu season continues to worsen across the nation, spreading to all 50 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the agency’s latest report released Friday.
Although federal health officials report that flu activity appears to be leveling off, it has taken a toll, resulting in the deaths of 37 children so far this year, while hospitalizing many others, including young adults and children. The elderly have been hit the hardest, as half of those hospitalized for influenza-like illness have been 65 and older, reports the CDC.
“Key indicators reflecting severity (hospitalizations and deaths) increased again this week, with the greatest impact among people 65 and older,” the CDC added.
The CDC also reports the first case of a flu virus to resist the effects of Tamiflu – the most commonly used flu medication. Flu viruses have already become resistant to the effects of the two oldest flu drugs, amantadine and rimantadine.
“Influenza activity remains elevated in most of the country. Like last week, some national indicators are declining while others are increasing,” the CDC says in a statement.
“Nationally influenza-like-illness seems to be leveling off, however some parts of the country are continuing to show increases.”
Meanwhile, flu activity continues to rise in the southwest and northwest, while leveling off in other parts of the country.
It’s up to the CDC to determine if flu activity has reached epidemic proportions or not. It does this by comparing weekly flu reports to corresponding weeks in previous years. Last week was above the epidemic threshold of 7.3 percent, with 9.8 percent of all deaths due to pneumonia and influenza.
In addition to the flu outbreak, a new stomach flu has landed in the U.S., creating more misery for a nation already suffering from the spread of influenza to all 50 states. The so-called ‘vomiting virus’ has already sickened people in other countries and on cruise ships before making its way to the U.S. in the form of a new strain of norovirus that is rapidly spreading.