Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

Flu hitting young people harder this year

Source

Original Authors: CNN's Jacque Wilson, Miriam Falco and Ashley Hayes

The flu is hitting younger people harder this season than in years past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

People between the ages of 18 and 64 represent 61% of all influenza-related hospitalizations recorded during the current flu season -- a significant increase compared with previous years when this age group represented about 35% of cases.

More flu deaths than usual have also occurred in people under 65. Adults between 25 and 64 account for more than half of flu deaths this season, according to the CDC, compared with less than a quarter last year.

"Influenza can make anyone very sick, very fast and it can kill," said the CDC's director, Dr. Tom Frieden. "Vaccination every season is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself."

CDC experts estimate only a third of people 18 to 64 had been vaccinated by November. About 40% to 45% of Americans get vaccinated each year, Frieden said.

H1N1 dominating flu cases

Health officials continue to encourage vaccinations for everyone who is at least 6 months old. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report noted this year's flu vaccine reduces the chance of having to go to the doctor for treatment by about 60% across all age groups. In past years, the vaccine's effectiveness has ranged from 30% to 65%.

The CDC has known for weeks that the dominant flu strain this season is the H1N1 virus, which first emerged in April 2009 and caused a pandemic. It's included in all flu shots and nasal vaccines this year, according to the MMWR.

"We are committed to the development of better flu vaccines, but existing flu vaccines are the best preventive tool available now," Frieden said.

Pregnant women are at particularly high risk of developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.

Leslie Creekmore of Arkansas was 20 weeks' pregnant when she contracted the flu this month. Five days after checking into a hospital, she miscarried. Three weeks later, Creekmore died. She did not get the flu vaccine.

Fifty pediatric flu-related deaths have been reported during the current flu season, according to the MMWR. Adult flu deaths are not reported on a national basis, but the CDC estimates that between 3,000 and 49,000 people die each year because of the flu and flu-related illness.

When H1N1 first surfaced, California health officials decided to make reporting fatal influenza cases in all individuals under 65 mandatory. As of February 14, local health officials had reported 243 deaths.

"The 405 reports of severe cases (i.e., fatal and ICU cases combined) were more than in any season since the 2009 pandemic," officials wrote in the MMWR.

Influenza activity in the United States remained elevated through February 8, according to the CDC. Twenty-four states reported widespread flu activity that week.

"Widespread" means that more than 50% of geographic regions in a state -- counties, for example -- are reporting flu activity. The designation addresses the spread of the flu, not its severity.

Experts expect elevated flu activity in parts of the United States for several more weeks, especially in states where flu activity started later.

"I want to remind you that the season is not over," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "There is still a lot of influenza circulating. If you haven't been vaccinated yet, it's not too late for you to benefit."

In addition to getting the vaccine, washing your hands frequently and staying home when you're sick can help you and others get through the flu season. Doctors recommend using antivirals within the first two days of experiencing any flu-like symptoms.

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
CEBS
CHHS News
GFCB
Ogden News
PCAL
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
Transportation
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Police
Emergency Preparedness
Facilities
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
DELO News
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Employee Wellness
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Teaching News
Van Meter Auditorium
WellU
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
BGMU Water meter work

LT Smith Stadium / Practice Field and Wetherby Lot

Academically talented seventh graders honored at Duke TIP ceremony

Academically talented seventh graders from throughout Kentucky were honored by the Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) May 19 at Western Kentucky University.

International Journal of Exercise Science realizes increased visibility in PubMed

The International Journal of Exercise Science (IJES), published in WKU’s TopSCHOLAR®, is being cited in PubMed, a database of more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals and online books.

Featured Articles
Academically talented seventh graders honored at Duke TIP ceremony

Academically talented seventh graders from throughout Kentucky were honored by the Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) May 19 at Western Kentucky University.

9 WKU students honored by Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Nine WKU students and recent alumni have been honored by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Grant partnership will share
 lessons from the Holocaust

A new grant has enabled a partnership that will spread a powerful message of embracing diversity throughout Kentucky and beyond.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 
 Last Modified 5/2/17