Levels of activity remain elevated
Early last week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released another somewhat alarming update on the current flu season, designated by some experts as one of the worst in the past half-century.
“This health advisory notifies clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States,” the release began.
Experts went onto explain that ongoing elevated activity is due to several different viruses, including:
- Influenza B/Victoria viruses
- Increasing circulation of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses;
- and low levels of influenza B/Yamagata and influenza A(H3N2) viruses.
CDC’s influenza forecasts suggest that national influenza activity will remain elevated for several more weeks. Because influenza activity is elevated and both influenza A and B virus infections can cause severe disease and death, this health advisory also serves as a reminder that early treatment with antiviral medications improves outcomes in patients with influenza.
Early treatment with antiviral medications is recommended for hospitalized patients and high-risk outpatients, including children younger than two years. Clinicians should continue efforts to vaccinate patients for as long as influenza viruses are circulating, and promptly start antiviral treatment of severely ill and high-risk patients with suspected influenza without waiting for laboratory confirmation.
Specific to the United States, flu activity remains elevated and widespread due to mainly influenza B viruses. The activity, experts cautioned, is expected to continue for several more weeks. While different viruses are dominant and widespread in different areas of the country and in different age groups and populations, influenza B is particularly harmful to pediatric patients.
The release concluded with helpful suggestions for clinicians broken into five sections, covering vaccinations, antiviral treatment and other medicinal considerations. The CDC continues to recommend the influenza vaccine for everyone over the age of six months.
For the CDC’s complete release, click here.