PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Federal health officials say the worst of this flu season appears to be over.
Medical facilities around the Philadelphia region say they are still very busy with flu patients as Pennsylvania has over 74,000 lab confirmed cases.
“It does look like the peak is behind us now,” said Dan Jernigan, the director of the Influenza Division at the CDC.
It’s been a rough flu season but the latest numbers from the CDC show the number of people visiting the doctor for flu-like illness is decreasing.
“It looks like it’s down now but the level we had was actually almost as high as we had in 2009, when the pandemic occurred. So, that is a lot of influenza activity. So, we expect there will be several weeks more of influenza activity,” Jernigan explained.
The dominant virus this season has been H3N2. And while government health officials say there’s less of that virus circulating, they are seeing more Flu B viruses.
“H3N2 affects more older folks, with very high hospitalization and death rates,” Jernigan said. “But Influenza B does tend to affect those that are younger. There is certainly a fair amount of influenza to go this season, probably until mid-April.
Health experts are continuing to urge everyone who hasn’t gotten the flu shot, to get one. They also say sick people should stay home to prevent spreading the virus.
Thirteen more children have died, bringing the number of pediatric flu deaths to 97 this season.
The CDC says about half those children did not have underlying conditions and only a quarter of them had been vaccinated.
This was a tough flu season that’s thankfully finally winding down.