According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest FluView surveillance report today, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity is markedly down across the country this week, a clear sign that this year's severe flu season continues to wind down.
Out of the 114 pediatric flu deaths in the United States this season, there were two flu-related deaths in West Virginia.
In addition to a record number of flu deaths for the modern era, the number of hospitalizations statewide stood at 4,336 as of Tuesday, another record.
The department says flu activity has apparently peaked in CT, but the illness remains widespread. Yet twice a year, every year, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) bets on the flu - which virus types are likely to dominate in the coming season.
Federal health officials decided last week on which influenza strains to include in the vaccine for next season.
Influenza is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and nasal secretions, and it can be transmitted on dirty surfaces and hands, officials said.
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The single most vital thing that must be done is to develop a universal flu vaccine, he said.
"In previous years, we had "mandatory participation, ' meaning that everyone had to declare a "yes" or 'no" were they going to get the influenza vaccine", Prabhu tells HealthLeaders Media. Some people - such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions - are at high risk for serious flu complications.
"We are starting to see across-the-state declines in the flu season, very similar to what's happening across the country", Gupta said.
Flu is a contagious, viral illness that causes mild to severe symptoms that can sometimes lead to death.
Tulsa and other county health departments have been offering free flu shots while supplies last. Preliminary data shows it was 70% effective at preventing infection with A (H1N1), but only about 20% effective against A (H3N2) - the most common strain in circulation this year. Mask said he still recommends getting the vaccine even past the season's peak.
The CDC's most recent update showes that 8.8 percent of the deaths occurring during the week ending Feb.17 were due to pneumonia and influenza.