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Tracking Flu Cases


CoffeeTime: “ASKING, ASSUMING OR DEMANDING”

Mississippi is one of seven states reporting high levels of illness in the new flu season.  Along with Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico and South Carolina are among states where flu cases are prevalent.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)also has the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico on its high flu activity list.  


There are different kinds of flu viruses, and the version that's been spreading the most so far this year usually leads to a lesser amount of hospitalizations and deaths in the elderly — the group on whom flu tends to take the largest toll.  Traditionally, the winter flu season ramps up in December or January, but it took off in October last year, and made a November entrance this year. 


Tracking during flu season relies in part on reports of people with flu-like symptoms who go to doctor's offices or hospitals.  Many people with the flu are not tested, so their infections aren’t lab-confirmed. COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses can sometimes muddy the picture.  So far this fall, the CDC estimates at least 780,000 flu illnesses, at least 8,000 hospitalizations and at least 490 flu-related deaths — including at least one child. 


It's not yet clear exactly how effective the current flu vaccines are, but the shots are well-matched to the flu strains that are showing up. In the U.S., about 35% of U.S. adults and 33% of children have been vaccinated against flu, current CDC data indicates.




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