According to a report released on Friday by the CDC influenza activity continues to increase in the United States and most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks influenza activity year-round and publishes a report weekly on Fridays.
According to the latest reports on the CDC website the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for ILI in the United States has been elevated for four consecutive weeks, climbing sharply from 2.8% to 5.6% during that time.
The deadly influenza epidemic of 1918
Many Americans probably don't realize the potential of a deadly a flu pandemic.
An exhibit of the US National Archives puts it into perspective.
"The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history."
The photo in this article from the US National Archives shows policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross during the influenza epidemic in December 1918.
Nationwide flu activity cause for concern
According to Dr. Joe Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division, “While we can’t say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations.”
While no one is predicting a deadly pandemic at the levels of the 1918 variety, there is cause for concern and the rise in flu activity is not something to be taken lightly.