(USA TODAY) -- Flu seems to be leveling off nationally though some parts of thecountry are still showing increases, the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention said Friday. In general, the South, Southeast, New Englandand the Midwest are declining. The Southwest and the Northwest arerising.
So far this flu season, 37 children have died from thevirus, 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.
Duringthe week of Jan. 13 through 19, 9.8% of deaths reported in CDC's 122Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to pneumonia and influenza.That's above the epidemic threshold of 7.3%. The rate of deaths linkedto pneumonia and flu the week before was 8.3%. Most deaths were inpeople 65 and older.
The flu emergency that several East Coastcities including Boston and New York had declared over the past twoweeks has passed, but flu cases are still "going strong," said JimHeffernan, chief of primary care at Boston's Beth Israel DeaconessMedical Center. While he's not seeing overflowing emergency rooms as hewas at the beginning of the month, the hospital is still getting"several hundred calls a day" for people who are suffering from the flu.
"Itdoes seem to have peaked here but there are still a lot of sick peopleout there," he said. "Far more than last year, probably more than we'veseen since H1N1," he said, referring to the pandemic flu strain thatstruck the world in 2009. In that outbreak, an estimated 24% of peopleworldwide got the flu, according to a paper published this week in thejournal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.
Whileshortages of flu vaccine are still popping around the country as the fluhits localized areas, there is still vaccine available, CDC said. As ofJanuary 18, a total of 133.5 million doses of influenza vaccine hadbeen distributed to vaccine providers in the United States for thisseason.
About half of pharmacies that ran out of flu vaccine wereable to get more, according to a survey done Jan. 14 through 16 by theNational Influenza Vaccine Summit, a public health group that works onflu vaccine issues.