Image: Mojpe (Pixabay) Last year's flu season was one of the worst we saw for decades, with nearly 80,000 influenza-related…
Image: Mojpe (Pixabay)
Last year’s flu season was one of the worst we saw for decades, with nearly 80,000 influenza-related deaths and the highest hospitalization of the virus in modern history. But new estimates from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) give us an even clearer idea of how bad last year’s flu season really was.
A CDC published weekly published estimated that vaccination of influenza among adults during the flu season 2017-18 was 37.1 percent, a decrease of 6.2 percentage points compared with the previous season and for the lowest vaccination coverage since the 2010- 2011. It estimates that 48.8 million people came down with the flu, with 959,000 hospital stays and 79,000 deaths.
In addition, the CDC said that last season was particularly “atypical” because it was difficult for people of all ages.
Influenza’s load and the rate of influenza-associated hospital care are generally higher for the very young and the very old, and while this was also the case during the 2017-2018 season, rental rates in all age groups were the highest seasonal rates seen since hospital-based surveillance was extended in 2005 to to include all ages.
influenza season 2017-2018 was record breaking on several fronts. In addition to the exceptionally high number of hospitalizations, last year’s influenza season resulted in 180 childbirths, the highest ever recorded number since the CDC adopted its current monitoring method.
While data are based on a previous report from September, the estimates released Thursday give a new insight into the extent of last year’s flu season, especially with regard to the number of sick leave and hospital stays.
“Last year was just a horrible season,” Daniel Jernigan, director of the CDC influenza department, said during a media call last month. “There was only a huge amount of disease.”
CDC said it estimated that 48.8 million of the diseases broken down into 11.5 million cases of influenza in children, 30 million cases of influenza in adults of working age (18-year-olds-64) and more than 7.3 million cases in adults 65 years of age or older.
CDC notes that its results do not match the preliminary estimates from other sources, saying that it has not shown reductions in influenza vaccinations. It was also noted that the limitations in its study included “dependent on self-reporting on vaccination status and decreasing response rates.” Despite possible data limits, the CDC said that flu vaccination coverage among adults is still low.
“As the 2018-19 season is in progress, it is important that suppliers prioritize influenza vaccination for their patients,” said CDC. “This includes client reminders when access to influenza vaccine becomes available, assesses vaccination status at each visit, makes an effective vaccination recommendation and offers vaccine. “
This should remind us that hand washing and control are free from any sneezing and cough can only go so far. While we can not be 100 percent determined why last year’s flu season was so bad, it is worth repeating getting a vaccine is a fairly safe way of avoiding the flu.
[CDC via Washington Post]