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It is important to note that outbreaks occurring in a single city could cause a state to display high activity levels, and data collected may disproportionately represent certain populations within a state and therefore may not accurately capture influenza activity for the whole state.
The percentage of patients with flu-like illnesses so far this flu season (October 1, 2017 through January 13, 2018) was calculated by 24/7 Wall St. Activity levels for states are measured against regional average patient visits for flu-like illnesses.
In an email to 24/7 Wall St., spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Ian Branam said, “H3N2-predominant seasons have been associated with more severe illness especially among people older than 65 years and children.” So far this flu season, children under the age of five, 50-64 year olds, and senior citizens are the most at risk groups.
People 65 and older are over four times more likely to be hospitalized with the flu than the average American.
Every state except for Hawaii had widespread influenza activity as of the second week of January.
CDC epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer, in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., noted activity levels could be from illnesses other than the flu.
Three flu pandemics have occurred since then, in 1957, 1968, and in 2009, when H1N1 (also known as the swine flu) killed approximately 12,469 Americans.
The most prevalent strain of this year’s flu season has been identified as H3N2.
Kwong urged new "international guidelines that advocate for influenza immunization in those at high risk of a heart attack."He also called on people at risk of heart disease to "take precautions to prevent respiratory infections, and especially influenza, through measures including vaccinations and hand washing."Gallery: How Bad Is the Flu Season in Every State? 24/7) Fears of a flu pandemic have emerged in the United States after hospitalizations spiked at the start of this year’s flu season.
People who get the flu may face a six-fold higher risk of heart attack in the week following infection, said a study Wednesday that bolsters the need for widespread vaccinations against the flu.
The risk of heart attack -- or myocardial infarction -- is particularly acute in older adults, said the report in the New England of Medicine."Our findings are important because an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction reinforces the importance of vaccination," said lead author Jeff Kwong, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario.
The study was based on nearly 20,000 adult cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection in Ontario, Canada from 2009 to 2014.
Of those, 332 patients were hospitalized for a heart attack within one year of their flu infection.