The flu virus has reached epidemic levels in the United States. alt = "pharmacy jobs"           CDC:  Doninance of H3N2 viruses may portend more deaths this flu season. photo:  latimes.com According to recent data, the flu virus has reached epidemic levels in the United States and we are just entering the worst of the flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculate that a total of 15 children have now died over the course of this flu season. The CDC states that almost 7% of all deaths in the U.S. during the week of December 15th were due to pneumonia and influenza and flu activity became widespread in 36 states.  And at least 2,643 people have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu since October, 2014.  That is 9.7 per 1,000 Americans hospitalized. Senior's have the highest rate of hospitalization at 38.3 per 100,000 people.  They were followed by children under 5, who had a rate of 13.4 per 100,000. This years strain H3N2 makes matters even more complicated.  In previous years, the H3N2 strain tend to involve more cases of severe illness and deaths, said Dr. Tom Friden, Director of the CDC. And to make matters worse, the H3N2 flu strain is not the one that was targeted by the flu vaccines distributed in North America.  But health officials still stress the importance of getting a flu shot, especially for the elderly and children. For more information go to: CDC.com

For more information on the flu vaccine, contact your local pharmacist.

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