Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flu season is mildest in years

According to the New York Times, the beginning of this year's flu season was announced this last Friday. Flu season is announced after three consecutive weeks of at least 10% of all respiratory infections are found to have been caused by influenza. Especially with all this gorgeous weather we've been having, this seems like a late start of the flu season, and in fact it is--this is the latest start to the flu season in 24 years. This could be because of the mild winter, allowing people to get outside and not be cooped up with each other for long periods of time, or because viruses can't survive on fomites as well in warmer weather.

So far only (only?) 3 children have died from flu-related reasons this year, which still seems like a lot, but compared to last year's 122 and the year before's 200+ is small. There have been far fewer hospitalizations this year, and only two states (California and Colorado) have been widely affected. Additionally, the majority of the infections have been of the H3N2 strain, as opposed to the more severe and more common, at least at the beginning of the season, H1N1.



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/health/start-of-winter-flu-season-in-us-is-announced.html?ref=health



--Sarah Kaewert

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