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 (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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