Flu hospitalizations in the US have risen to a decade, with the Southeast currently the hardest hit region.
About five out of every 100,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with the flu on Nov. 5, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the highest hospitalization rate since 2010 at the start of this flu season in 10 years.
But the percentage of patients reporting flu-like symptoms, including a fever of 100 degrees or higher and a sore throat or cough, was highest in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, DC. to CDC data.
Flu activity is highest in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York City and Texas, according to the CDC.
More than 6,400 people were hospitalized with the flu in the week ending Nov. 5, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 54% of these patients were hospitalized in the southeastern and south-central parts of the US
More than 2,000 people have contracted the flu in states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. More than 1,400 were hospitalized in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
According to Dr. Jose Romero, CDC’s National Director of Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the Influenza A H3N2 strain appears to be more common in the Southeast now. This strain is associated with severe illness in the elderly and young children, Romero said.
“Right now, there are early signs of influenza in these two groups of individuals,” Romero told reporters during a call earlier this month.
About 11 out of 100,000 seniors were treated for the flu in the week ending Nov. 5, and about 10 out of 100,000 children were hospitalized, according to CDC data. Hospitalization rates for these age groups are about double the national rate.
So far this season, at least 2.8 million people have gotten sick with the flu, 23,000 have been hospitalized, and 1,300 have died from the virus, according to the CDC.
Hospitals across the US are overwhelmed with patients, especially those with the flu or respiratory syncytial virus. The epidemic: These viruses are probably on the rise because public health measures have reduced the spread of these viruses, he said. As a result, children may be infected for the first time.
Public health officials are also expecting another wave of Covid infections this summer. The CDC, Food and Drug Administration and the White House are calling for everyone eligible to receive a flu shot and a covid booster before the holidays.