Flu cases have been on the rise in the past few weeks nationwide, with influenza A as the most diagnosed type of virus. There have been 13 pediatric deaths from influenza-related cases until now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The proportion of deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia was below the system-specific epidemic threshold, this means the spread is not considered an epidemic just yet.
Although the cases are on the rise, this season has been considered milder by many compared to other years. Just in California, 16 under age 65 have died of the flu. At this time the past year, there was 29 deaths already, and two years ago, 243 deaths, as reported by Los Angeles Times.
“In the middle of it all, it is hard to know where we are: whether we are in the eye of the storm or the storm has passed,” said Dr. Robert Schechter, medical officer with the immunization branch of the California Department of Public Health.
Experts said that the decrease in the cases could be due to the efficiency of the vaccine against the spread going around, that is the same as last year. The available vaccine includes the circulating strain and provides strong immunity, said Dr. Laurene Mascola, chief of the acute communicable disease control program for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
In addition to the vaccine, people may retain natural immunity if they got infected with the same strain last year, so this adds another explanation to the decrease, Dr. Mascola added.
Dr. Mascola remained reluctant to weigh in on what the season have been so far. She said that each season is different and that right now they are just happy is a mild one.
Until now, the worst spreads are reduced to Puerto Rico and 12 other states that have reported to the CDC as a widespread. 20 others states have reported regional activity. District of Columbia and 15 states reported local activity and the U.S Virgin Islands and others 3 states reported fewer activity or sporadic, according to the CDC weekly report.