(USA TODAY) -- Flu seems to be leveling off nationally though some parts of the
country are still showing increases, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said Friday. In general, the South, Southeast, New England
and the Midwest are declining. The Southwest and the Northwest are
So far this flu season, 37 children have died from the
virus, according to CDC's weekly FluView. Flu is prevalent in 49 states
-- Maine is the exception -- and high in 26 states and New York City.
the week of Jan. 13 through 19, 9.8% of deaths reported in CDC's 122
Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to pneumonia and influenza.
That's above the epidemic threshold of 7.3%. The rate of deaths linked
to pneumonia and flu the week before was 8.3%. Most deaths were in
people 65 and older.
The flu emergency that several East Coast
cities including Boston and New York had declared over the past two
weeks has passed, but flu cases are still "going strong," said Jim
Heffernan, chief of primary care at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center. While he's not seeing overflowing emergency rooms as he
was at the beginning of the month, the hospital is still getting
"several hundred calls a day" for people who are suffering from the flu.
does seem to have peaked here but there are still a lot of sick people
out there," he said. "Far more than last year, probably more than we've
seen since H1N1," he said, referring to the pandemic flu strain that
struck the world in 2009. In that outbreak, an estimated 24% of people
worldwide got the flu, according to a paper published this week in the
journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.
shortages of flu vaccine are still popping around the country as the flu
hits localized areas, there is still vaccine available, CDC said. As of
January 18, a total of 133.5 million doses of influenza vaccine had
been distributed to vaccine providers in the United States for this
About half of pharmacies that ran out of flu vaccine were
able to get more, according to a survey done Jan. 14 through 16 by the
National Influenza Vaccine Summit, a public health group that works on
flu vaccine issues.