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Start of flu season earliest in decade, according to CDC

Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 1:01 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 1:18 AM
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ATLANTA — This is the earliest start to the flu season in nearly a decade, and that could indicate a more severe season, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

Nurse Rob Freitas administers a flu shot to Laverne Brown at the Georgia Health Sciences University Family Medicine Clinic.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Nurse Rob Freitas administers a flu shot to Laverne Brown at the Georgia Health Sciences University Family Medicine Clinic.

The number of people reporting to clinics with flu-like illness reached the threshold that makes it likely flu is in their communities earlier than any time since 2003-04, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said. That was also a severe flu season, which could have implications for this season because the predominant strain so far is an influenza A H3N2, which typically results in more severe flu seasons, Frieden said.

“It looks like it is shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell,” he said.

Flu season typically gets going after the New Year, with peaks in January and February, said Dr. Melinda Wharton, the acting director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.

South Carolina is among four states already experiencing widespread flu status, the highest level. Georgia is one of two states seeing moderate levels of flu-like illness.

The good news is higher vaccination rates, particularly among health care workers – 80-90 percent of pharmacists, doctors and nurses have already been vaccinated – Frieden said. An estimated 123 million doses of flu vaccine has already been shipped out, and the CDC estimated that 112 million have been given this year.

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WalterBradfordCannon 12/03/12 - 04:26 pm
Google flutrends leads the

Google flutrends leads the CDC reporting by several weeks and is just as accurate. It is based on user searches, whereas the CDC data is based on reports from doctors, which need to be collected and compiled by the CDC. Georgia is already at high flu levels compared to the last few years of flu seasons. Check it out

YeCats 12/03/12 - 04:31 pm
Ain't Bragging,

just thankful. I had it the last two weeks in Oct, and finally shook it after the first week of Nov. Starts with a sore throat, then a head FOS ( full of snot), and the last week and half, the cough, esp. at night. Body aches all the way throughout. It's a tough one, I took lots of advil.

Someone told me to eat an orange everyday. Well, tis the season!

AutumnLeaves 12/03/12 - 06:22 pm
How can they?

How can they get accurate records of the incidents of flu since you have to drag yourself to the doctor and if you make it there, then you have to pay $65 or more to get the test to confirm you have the flu. Not everyone can afford that. Plus, I had to ask about it, the doctor didn't volunteer that you could get the FLU confirmed by that test. In other words, I am sure the influenza outbreaks are seriously under-reported and yes I have heard of dozens of acquaintances and family that have it or had it the week of Thanksgiving.

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