CDC declares flu season an 'epidemic'

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Centers for Disease and Prevention has declared this years flu season an 'epidemic.' 

More than 650 deaths have been reported in Missouri alone. The Governor of Alabama has declared a public health emergency for the state.

Public Health nurses with the De Pere Health Department have seen an uptick in people sick with the flu. The CDC says the flu is peaking at the same time across the United States making it a very active flu season.

Experts say there isn't just one, but three strains of the flu circulating. This season, influenza A and H3N2 are the most common form of influenza. The CDC says these viruses are often linked to more severe illness, especially among children and people age 65 and older. 

When H3 viruses are predominant, the CDC says we tend to have worse flu seasons with more hospitalizations and more deaths. 

Local experts say it's important to protect yourself and your family by getting a flu shot, washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home when you're sick.

Erin Bongers with the De Pere Public Health Department says the flu vaccine last year was overall 40% effective. The effectiveness of this years flu won't be known until mid-February. 

The CDC estimates that even in a mild year about 12,000 people die from the illness. People may be at a higher risk for the illness if you have heart or lung disease, diabetes, immune suppression or obesity.

 

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