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CDC says flu widespread in US: 21 states have high case numbers

The Centers for Disease Control has released a new report indicating that the flu is off to a strong start in the US this year. Influenza-like activity has been reported as widespread across 36 states, with 21 of those states having a large number of flu-related cases. The reason for the widespread presence, according to the CDC, is this year’s flu vaccine having a low effectiveness rate.

The flu, of course, is the name popularly used in reference to influenza, of which there are many strains. The high number of cases is due in part to this year’s influenza strain not being terribly well covered by the flu vaccine given out this year. Because the vaccine isn’t very effective, many people are coming down with the illness, which is easily spread.

Typically the US is just starting to enter what will soon be its peak flu season, but that’s not the case this year. Cases are high and spread particularly heavily throughout Southern and Midwestern states, with California and Arizona also being hit particularly hard. The Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes region, and New England only show minimal to low case loads.

However, a week-by-week look at the cases show they’re growing quickly, with those “red” states shown above growing northward at a rapid pace. According to the CDC, a total of 8 states had low flu-like illness activity in its most recently monitored week, among those being Florida and Alaska, while 14 had minimal activity, including Washington, Ohio, Michigan, and others.

At least based on current data gathered by the CDC, Influenza A (H3N2) appears to be the primary offender in the US this year, with Influenza B coming in second and Influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 coming in third. The CDC offers a list of preventative measures to help people avoid contracting the illness, including keeping away from sick individuals, not venturing out when you are sick, avoiding touching your face, covering your nose and mouth, regularly washing your hands, and practicing “good health habits” in general.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control