The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is speaking out about this year’s extremely rapid flu outbreak.
The department released a statement on Friday saying the contagious disease is “likely to last for several more weeks.”
Reports have shown that the flu is now widespread in 47 states, up from 41 last week. The number of deaths related to the flu has also increased with a total of 20 Americans succumbing to the disease.
Health officials say that the outbreak will get worse before it gets better.
“Some indicators continue to rise as others have fallen slightly,” said Lyn Finelli, chief of surveillance and outbreak response for the CDC’s influenza division. “It’s too early to say exactly what this means. Some regions may be peaked while other parts of the country are still on the upswing.”
Experts report that this year’s flu outbreak is much more severe than last year’s flu season. Researchers say the primary influence on the severity of the flu outbreak each season depends on how susceptible people are to the types of infecting viruses such as the H3N2 virus.
“That virus is always associated with high numbers of hospitalizations and deaths,” said Finelli. “It hasn’t circulated in recent years, so there are a lot of susceptibles. It has the opportunity to make a lot of people sick.”
H3N2 was prominent during last year’s flu season prompting doctors to include it in the flu vaccine this year. However, scientists believe that simply getting a flu shot will not guarantee full protection from the disease.
“What we’ve known for a long time is that the flu vaccine is far from perfect,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Friedman. “But it’s still by far the best tool we have to prevent the flu.”
Even though the flu vaccine offers some protection, many people are opting out of it this year. As of November 2012, only 37 percent of Americans reported that they had received a flu shot.
“That’s pretty typical,” said Bill Hanage, epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. “And it’s not enough to make much of a dent in transmission.”
Doctors recommend that senior citizens and children receive the shots since their immune systems can be more susceptible.
“If you have a child under 6 months, as I do, the best means of protecting them is to make sure the people around them are vaccinated,” Hanage said. “I’ve had my flu shot.”
While some have taken strides early to avoid infection, many people have waited until seeing family, friends and co-workers with cold symptoms to take action. As news continues to spread about this year’s intense outbreak, more people are racing to their doctors and drug stores for vaccinations.
Pharmacies in New York are having trouble keeping up with the last minute demand for shots.
“We ordered more, but just don’t know when they’ll come in, “said Pharmacist Keila Mena. “No one wanted shots at the beginning of the season. We were basically begging people.”
Health officials recommend seeing a physician as soon as flu-like symptoms appear. They advise that you stay home from work as to avoid spreading the infection as well as using elbows to cover mouths when coughing or sneezing.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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