People are being hospitalized because of the flu at record levels, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
CDC reported that overall hospitalizations are the highest the agency has ever seen in the eight years the data has been tracked, and are outpacing hospitalizations seen during the severe 2014-2015 flu season.
“Flu activity is still high and widespread across most of the nation and increasing overall,” said acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat, who took over for previous director Brenda Fitzgerald after she resigned due to mounting financial conflicts. "What we are saying is so far this year the cumulative rate of hospitalizations is the highest since we have been tracking in this way, which goes back to 2010."
The CDC reported 16 flu-related pediatric deaths this past week, and overall 53 children have died from the flu this season.
The CDC also addressed a new study from Canada that showed the flu shot was only 10 to 20 percent effective against H3N2, the most prevalent strain of flu this season. Schuchat noted that overall the flu shot is 30 to 40 percent effective and that figure includes all strains of the flu.
“We have been expecting low effectiveness against H3N2 strain,” she said.
While H3N2 is most prominent, Schuchat said that there are increases in the H1N1 strain that the flu shot is more effective at battling.