[UPDATE] The flu has now reached epidemic levels, according to the CDC.
This is the worst flu season in ten years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. The flu season is from November until March and we haven’t hit the peak yet.
Hospitals are struggling to keep up with the patients that are coming in with the flu and some hospitals are having to turn people away. Some hospitals, like Lehigh Valley Hospital are setting up a triage area outside because the emergency rooms are overflowing with patients. In one hospital in Chicago, they have seen a twenty percent increase in flu patients every day, according to ABC News.
Swine Flu Pandemic 2009 vs. 2012-2013 Flu Season
Many of us recall the H1N1 flu (or swine flu) outbreak of 2009. It was a new virus and many people were frightened about its implications. In April 2009 the United States saw its first case of the H1N1 flu. By June 11, 2009 the WHO declared a pandemic. From April 15, 2009 to July 24, 2009 states reported a total of 43,771 cases of probable and confirmed influenza cases. Of these cases 5,011 people were hospitalized and 302 people died, according to the CDC. So how does this compare to what we are seeing during this flu season?
First, the H1N1 was a novel strain, meaning that it was new; this is not the case during the 2012-2013 flu season. That makes a huge difference in numbers. With a new illness, experts don’t know how it’s spread, what treatment options will work, and other information that help protect and prevent a large number of cases. Having a ‘regular’ flu season helps keep numbers low, since experts know how the viruses are spread and what treatment options work.
For the 2012-2013 flu season, 29 states are reporting high amounts of flu activity and the CDC reports that flu is widespread in 41 states. Since October 1, 2012 there have been 2,257 people hospitalized with the flu, and 18 children have died. The numbers are still much lower than what we saw in the H1N1 flu pandemic; however, the flu season is not over yet.Decoded Science