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The flu still hangs around in some regions, warns CDC



ATLANTA – Maybe you should take a little more time to wash your hands when visiting relatives on this Passover and Easter weekend. Doctors still see a number of patients with flu, but the numbers are declining in an intense flu season.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed four more influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the 12th week of the season, totaling 137 since October. Puerto Rico and 16 states continued to suffer from flu during the week ending March 24, the CDC said in their weekly surveillance report on Friday.

The flu is a virus-induced infection that makes your nose runny and makes breathing difficult, can cause pain and fever, and can lessen your strength. Often it can clear up alone, but it can be serious and even deadly.

The CDC says 27,438 people were hospitalized between October 1

and March 24 with the flu. The most vulnerable are people over 65, followed by adults between the ages of 50 and 64 years. Young children and people with underlying diseases such as asthma or obesity are also prone to intense flu.

There were 3,943 new confirmed infections for the week ending March 24, bringing the total season to 254,280. 19659006] The states in which the doctors' waiting rooms are still dealing with flu cases include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin. Regional activity was reported in 22 states. Four states had high levels of outpatient activity, and eight had moderate rates.

Sporadic influenza has been reported by four states: Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi and Vermont.

If you want to avoid the flu completely, go to the US Virgin Islands, which did not report any flu at all.

Nationwide, about 2.5% of people who went to the doctor had flu-like symptoms during the week ending March 24th. This is above the expected level – only 0.03% higher – but the percentage has dropped compared to the previous week when the rate was 2.7%.

Looking at the laboratory findings, the CDC found a mix of influenza strains that made the rounds this season, including A strains like H3N2 and H1N1. The B strains of the virus appear to be emerging lately, but these too are slowing down.

It's not too late to get a flu shot if you do not have it. Even if you've been sick this season, you can still get a different strain because of the multitude of viruses.

"The flu continues to recede," said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. "And it will probably go below baseline in the next few weeks."


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