Child dies of flu; 2nd this season in Mississippi

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"It's definitely an encouraging sign", CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said.

Of the 158 cases in P.A. and area this season, 30 led to hospitalization.

While it's announced on a Google or print calendar, flu season is usually recognized as starting in October or November, and stretching through to May. Five states, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Utah, and Wisconsin, reported moderate activity of flu-like illness. Among those anomalies are that this year, the flu is found to be very widespread virtually everywhere in the United States. The number of states reporting high patient traffic for the flu also dropped, to 39 from 43.

The latest flu report from the Indiana State Department of Health says 219 people have died an influenza-related death.

Though the drop to 6.4% is significant, the CDC warned that the percentage "remains higher than the peak of flu activity observed during many seasons". The CDC confirmed 13 new pediatric deaths, bringing the season's total to 97. The highest rate of those affected were aged 65 or older.

But there are other factors in play, including "more people with a variety of underlying illnesses because we do a better job of keeping people alive and functioning in our society", he said. "There are some reports about more people coming in with influenza like symptoms". Slightly less than half - 48% - had an underlying medical condition, most commonly asthma, a neurologic disorder or obesity.

Overall the vaccine has been 67 percent effective against the H1N1 flu virus that's also circulating, and 42 percent effective against flu B viruses.

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The prominent virus is H3N2, an "A" strain.

The 2014-15 season has been a benchmark for this year-it was another long, non-pandemic flu season dominated by H3N2. Some experts think this season could continue into March.

The CDC's FluView update was published online February 23.

According to the CDC, the influenza strain responsible for the hard flu season is H3N2. Please be respectful of those who may be a greater risk for complications of the flu (young children, elderly, or those with other illness). Of all positive lab samples reported to the CDC last week, 58.2% were influenza A viruses and 41.8% were influenza B.

"It's a welcome return", Schaffner said.

"Getting the flu shot at any time of the year is highly recommended", he said.

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