***This is a synopsis of an article published by medscape.com written by Megan Brooks
US Influenza Activity Widespread and Intense, May Be Peaking
The United States is in the midst of a very active, widespread, and intense influenza season that may be peaking; however, influenza-related hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Influenza A (H3N2) is reported as the most common form of influenza this season, a strain linked to more severe illness, especially in children and individuals 65 and older. The predominance of the influenza H3N2 strain has been associated in past flu seasons with higher rates of flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Preliminary vaccine effectiveness data will not be available until late February; however, the CDC speculates effectiveness rates against influenza A (H3N2) will be around 30% for this season. Although the influenza season is peaking, at least 11 to 13 weeks remain, and other strains of influenza A and B may show up later in the season, so it is recommended to get vaccinated now for those who have not yet been vaccinated.
Antivirals, such as Tamiflu, can lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of illness, preventing serious influenza complications, notes Dan Jernigan, M.D., MPH of the CDC. The CDC recommends those at high risk of complications from influenza, such young children, those 65 and older, and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, be treated as early as possible with flu antiviral drugs during this very active and possibly severe influenza season.
Read the full article here.