US Seasonal Flu Widespread With H1N1 As The Dominant Strain

Sunday, January 5, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lawrence LeBlond
January 5, 2014

The 2013-2014 influenza season is underway in the United States, with more than half the country reporting widespread cases of flu activity, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While last year’s flu season was one of the worst in recent years in the US, one of this year’s strains – H1N1 – is making up more than half of the cases so far reported. It was during the 2009-2010 flu season that H1N1 caused a global pandemic, spreading from central Mexico to more than 70 other countries, killing in the neighborhood of 284,000 people, according to the CDC.

In just the past week, the number of states reporting above average cases of seasonal flu jumped from 10 to 25, with widespread activity reported in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington state and Wyoming.

According to the CDC, “widespread activity” means that more than 50 percent of geographic regions within a state are reporting flu activity. This particular CDC data measures the overall spread of flu, but not the severity of illnesses.

The flu is responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the US, with peak activity from October to March. This season, the flu is spreading relatively quickly.

“We are seeing a big uptick in disease in the past couple of weeks. The virus is all around the United States right now,” Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of Epidemiology and Prevention in the CDC’s Influenza Division, told Reuters.

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