PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The flu has reached pandemic levels and it could intensify, according to health officials.
In Pennsylvania, there have been 91 deaths related to influenza. The southeastern part of the state, around Philadelphia, is now the hardest hit when it comes to flu cases.
This flu season is the worst in nearly a decade and it’s not getting better, according to the newest report from the CDC.
“It looks like we are on track to break some recent records,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the acting director at the CDC, said.
Pennsylvania has had 47,752 lab confirmed flu cases. In New Jersey, there are 10, 410 cases. And there are 19,000 cases of influenza in Delaware.
The latest report from the CDC shows 1 out of every 13 doctor visits last week was for flu like illnesses, the highest rates seen since 2009 when the H1N1 swine flu virus hit the United States.
The flu remains widespread in every state except for Hawaii and Oregon, and hospitalizations are increasing.
As of this week, we have more hospitalizations than we have seen in any recent season, including severe 2014-15 season,” Dr. Schuchat said.
Pediatriac deaths from flu-related causes this season is now at 63.
And the worst could be yet to come.
Government health officials say we have not seen the peak of the flu season yet and it’s unclear when that will happen.
“We are in week 11 of increased flu activity. Some seasons can last as long as 20 weeks,” Dr. Schuchat explained.
Health officials say the flu vaccine this year didn’t do a very good job of preventing influenza.
If you develop symptoms, doctors say it’s important to get tamiflu as soon as possible, when it’s most effective. This is an especially nasty flu strain that makes people sick for weeks.