The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cautioned against a widespread flu activity across 29 states, mainly in the South and Midwest.
According to the CDC officials, the flu season is going to be more dangerous this time as number of affected states is just twice as many as reported in the previous week.
Among the most affected this time are children and elderly. Most of the hospitalized patients with severe cases of flu are either very young or the very old.
Due to the severe health conditions created following the flu outbreaks, the authorities have announced shut down of schools in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio.
So far this season, the virus has claimed lives of 11 children.
“There’s almost like a Christmas tree right in the middle of the country of the hot spots for disease,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said while elaborating upon the pattern of this year’s flu outbreak.
According to CDC officials, 13 states have reported high levels of influenza-like illnesses and another six states have witnessed moderate activity.
Health experts said that this time the flu problem is more severe as vaccines for this year doesn’t provide protection against H3N2, the most dangerous strain of the influenza making the rounds.
However, the vaccine for this year does help protect against one or two strains of influenza B and H1N1.
The CDC has earlier this month issued a health advisory saying that only 48 percent of flu virus samples taken through in November were closely associated with this year’s vaccine.
“Because the H3N2 is dominating, we probably will see more disease. There might be reduced protection as opposed to zero protection,” said Schuchat.
Meanwhile, the health experts at CDC and others strictly recommend all the people, especially high risk group including children, pregnant women and elderly, to get the flu shots and proper vaccination.