With evidence that the current flu vaccine may not be effective on the predominant influenza A strain of the virus, hospital admission rates are the primary determinants of the severity of the epidemic that has claimed 6 young lives in the last week of December alone.
Flu is widespread in 43 US states, up from 36 states in the prior week, the CDC reported on Monday.
Six children died from the flu during the last full week in December, bringing the total flu deaths to 21 this season, the report showed.
Last week the CDC reported for the first time that deaths from flu and pneumonia reached an epidemic level, comprising 6.8% of all deaths. That figure slipped slightly below the epidemic level in this week's report, the CDC said.
"Last week was the first week that this particular number exceeded the epidemic threshold, but we've been in a flu epidemic for weeks now," said Michael Jhung, MD, medical officer in the CDC's Influenza Division.
Complete report on Reuters: http://reut.rs/1KicNot