As Flu Hospitalizations Surge, the Southeast is the Hardest Hit

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that flu hospitalizations had surged throughout the country during the first week of January, with 4.5 percent of all people who went to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms being admitted into the hospital due to complications of influenza infection. A similar spike in flu-related hospitalizations was observed in the second week of January, however this time around, hospitalizations were most severe in the Southeast region of the U.S., prompting several states to declare public health emergencies as they brace themselves for what’s likely to be an especially severe flu season this year.

In the US, hospitalizations for flu have increased to their highest level in a decade, with the Southeast now suffering the most.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five out of every 100,000 Americans who were hospitalised with the flu during the week ending Nov. 5 were infected with the virus. This early in the flu season, the hospitalisation rate is at its highest level since 2010, which was more than ten years ago.

However, according to CDC data, the proportion of patients reporting flu-like symptoms, including a fever of 100 degrees or higher and a sore throat or cough, is highest in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

According to the CDC, flu activity is also quite high in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York City, and Texas.

The Health and Human Services Department said that during the week ending Nov. 5, more over 6,400 patients were hospitalised to hospitals with the flu. In the Southeast and South-Central region of the United States, hospitals treated around 54% of these patients.

In the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, little over 2,000 persons were hospitalised with the flu. In Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, more than 1,400 patients were admitted to hospitals.

According to Dr. Jose Romero, head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the influenza A H3N2 strain now looks to be the most prevalent in the Southeast. According to Romero, this strain is linked to more serious sickness in young children and the elderly.

In a call with reporters earlier this month, Romero stated, “There are also early signals of influenza causing severe disease in precisely these two groups of people this season.”

According to CDC data, 10 out of every 100,000 children under the age of 5 were admitted to the hospital during the week ending Nov. 5 compared to nearly 11 out of every 100,000 elders who were hospitalised with the flu. These age groups have around double the national hospitalisation rate.

According to the CDC, at least 2.8 million individuals have contracted the flu this season, 23,000 have been admitted to hospitals, and 1,300 have died as a result of the infection.

Flu and respiratory syncytial virus patients, particularly children, are flooding hospitals across the United States. According to Romero, the rise of these viruses is likely due to a reduction in immunity brought on by the public health efforts taken during the epidemic to stop their spread. As a result, many children are being infected for the first time.

Additionally, this winter, public health authorities anticipate another wave of Covid infections. Before the holidays, everyone who is eligible should get a flu vaccine and a Covid booster, according to the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, and the White House.

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