Title: High Levels of Flu Activity Recorded Across Several US States, CDC Reports
Subtitle: U.S. flu season underway with multiple states reporting heightened flu activity
by [Your Name], Jala News Staff Writer
Date: [Insert Date]
The United States has entered flu season, with at least seven states reporting high levels of flu illnesses, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Louisiana is experiencing very high activity, while Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina are reporting high flu activity.
In addition to the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have also reported high flu activity. The situation in Puerto Rico is particularly concerning, as the region recently declared an influenza epidemic.
Leading infectious diseases expert Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University expressed his concerns, stating, “We’re off to the races.” He emphasized the need for increased vigilance and adherence to preventive measures as the flu season progresses.
While flu activity is currently moderate but rising in states including New York City, Arkansas, California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, it is important to note that tracking flu cases remains challenging. The CDC relies on reports from individuals seeking medical assistance, but numerous cases go untested.
CDC’s flu surveillance team leader, Alicia Budd, highlighted several indicators pointing to a continued increase in flu cases. However, she noted that the dominant flu virus currently circulating typically leads to fewer hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among the elderly population.
Since the beginning of fall, there have been over 780,000 reported flu illnesses, resulting in 8,000 hospitalizations and 490 flu-related deaths. Tragically, at least one child has lost their life due to the virus.
The effectiveness of the current flu vaccines is yet to be determined. However, experts assert that the vaccines are well-matched to the flu strains circulating this season.
Despite the severity of the flu season, vaccination rates for flu are lower compared to the previous year. Only about 35% of adults and 33% of children have received the flu vaccine. In stark contrast, COVID-19 vaccination rates stand at 14% for adults and 5% for children, while just 13.5% of adults aged 60 and older have received the recommended RSV shots.
As the flu season continues to unfold, health authorities stress the importance of getting vaccinated, practicing good hygiene, such as frequent hand-washing, and staying home when experiencing flu-like symptoms. These preventive measures are crucial in minimizing the spread of the virus and safeguarding vulnerable populations.
For further updates on the ongoing flu season, visit Jala News at [insert website URL].
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