CDC: Mild flu season apparently winding down

Apr 07, 2009 By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- The flu season is winding down and turning out to be one of the mildest in years, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One possible explanation: The generally was well-matched to the circulating flu viruses, CDC officials said.

The CDC compares flu seasons by looking at adult deaths from the flu or pneumonia in 122 cities, and at reports of flu-related deaths in children. Both were down significantly this year compared with the severe 2007-2008 season.

The flu causes 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually, according to official estimates. The elderly, young children and people with chronic illnesses are at greatest risk.

Vaccination is the best protection, health officials say. A record 146 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed for the 2008-2009 season, although the CDC doesn't have data on how many people actually got them.

Flu vaccines are often between 70 percent and 90 percent effective. In the 2007-2008 season, the vaccine was only 44 percent effective. No such figure has been released for this year, but tests indicate the vaccine matches up well to at least two of the flu viruses going around.

The main kind of flu virus circulating this year was a Type A H1N1. Flu seasons in which an H1N1 predominates are generally milder than seasons when a Type A H3N2 does, said Dr. Alicia Fry, a CDC epidemiologist.

This was perhaps toughest on doctors.

In recent years, doctors routinely prescribed a drug called Tamiflu to flu patients. But this season's H1N1 strain has been resistant to that drug. Only a few years ago, CDC officials announced that H3N2 flu had become resistant to two other antiviral medications, rimantadine and amantadine.

Lately, doctors have had to use a patchwork of medications and hope for the best.

"It was more challenging" this year, said Dr. Bruce Ribner, an Atlanta infectious disease physician.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Major flu strain resistant to widely used antiviral drug

Jan 15, 2009

One of the major strains of the influenza virus this season has become resistant to Tamiflu - rendering the mainstay antiviral drug all but impotent and creating tough treatment options for patients who come down with the ...

CDC Recommends All Kids be Vaccinated Against Flu

Sep 12, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- School and day care settings are the most "efficient ways to spread flu in the community," say researchers at Duke Children's Hospital which may explain why the CDC is now recommending that all children -- ...

The Medical Minute: New flu vaccine recommendations

Oct 04, 2006

Let's make this easy. Any article about flu vaccine lists groups of people who should get a flu shot. This year the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) expanded the ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2009
It's winding down because the sun is getting higher.

www.vitamindcouncil.com
Ashy
not rated yet Apr 08, 2009
Flu decreased because this winter was slighter than previous. Vaccination have not influence at flu, but it concerned with increase of sudden deaths. For example number of heart attacks during the vaccination day at 10-20 times bigger than average.

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...