Flu Season was the Longest in 10 Years
Last year, federal officials stated that the 2017-2018 flu season was the deadliest in 10 years. However this year, the 2018-2019 flu season has now been classified as the longest in a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this past flu season was a record-setting 21 weeks in length.
Flu seasons typically last from November to April. In the United States, this season peaked in the second week of February but it was unique this time round. Normally, influenza A viruses are more prevalent early in the season and B viruses strike later. But according to a new report from the CDC, two different phases of influenza A dominated the season this year, accounting for its unusually long timespan. Both waves of activity were of similar scale. Specifically, H1N1 spread widely from October to mid-February and then H3N2 began to circulate from mid-February into spring.
Since this past flu season was less severe than the previous year, the overall severity ranking given to the season by the CDC is “moderate”. The CDC credits high early season vaccination rates and an effective vaccine for a moderate season in 2018-2019.
In parts of the Southern Hemisphere, the flu has spiked early this season. Media reports from Southern Australia warn of a sudden surge in flu-related hospitalizations. South Australia’s health department states that 15,500 cases of the flu have already been confirmed, in comparison to 1400 this same time last year. A reason for this surge has yet to be determined.
In Chile, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, flu outbreaks have started earlier than in previous years. The World Health Organization reports that both H1N1 and H3N2 are in current circulation in the southern hemisphere.
The CDC is already reminding people to ensure they get a flu vaccine for the coming 2019-2020 flu season. They recommend October as the prime time to receive the vaccination. Contact Midland Health for your free quote today, and to arrange your on-site flu clinic.