NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s finally some good news on this year’s flu epidemic.
It appears the unusually severe flu season may have reached its peak.
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control shows a decrease in flu activity, but as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez cautions — the flu season is far from over.
It’s been a rough go for much of the U.S., but the latest numbers from the CDC show the number of people visiting the doctor for flu-like symptoms is decreasing.
“It looks like it’s down now, but the level we had was actually almost as high as we had in 2009 when the pandemic occurred, so that’s a lot of influenza activity,” Dr. Dan Jernigan from the CDC said. “We expect there will be several weeks more of influenza activity.”
The dominant strain this season has been H3N2. While government health officials say there’s less of that virus circulating, they’re seeing more flu “B” viruses.
“H3N2 affects more older folks, with very high hospitalization and death rates but influenza B does tend to affect those that are younger,” Jernigan said. “There is certainly a fair amount of influenza to go around this season. Probably until mid-April.”
Health experts are continuing to urge everyone who hasn’t gotten the flu shot to do so. They also say sick people should stay home to prevent spreading the virus.
Three more children have died of flu-related disease, bringing the number of pediatric deaths to 97 this season. The CDC says about half those children didn’t have underlying conditions, but only a quarter of them had been vaccinated.