Midway through this year’s flu season, as many as 15.2 million people have fallen sick with influenza since October in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a “low-severity” season.
Influenza is “widespread” geographically in Puerto Rico and 47 states, meaning cases were reported in more than half the regions of the state, according to the CDC.
The flu has been blamed for 9,600 to 15,900 deaths, with up to 186,000 hospitalizations and up to 7.2 million flu medical visits.
The CDC found, however, lower percentage of outpatient visits, lower rates of hospitalization and fewer deaths attributed to pneumonia and flu compared with recent years.
Last flu season, which stretches from October to the end of May, an estimated 49 million Americans got sick, 23 million sought medical care and 960,000 were hospitalized.
While any flu activity is alarming, the CDC says, the overall hospitalization rate so far this season is 20.1 per 100,000 people compared to 30.5 per 100,000 at this period last year. The highest rate is among adults 65 years and older, accounting for 53 hospitalizations per 100,000 population.
The CDC credits vaccines with helping blunt the impact of flu this year.
“Early estimates indicate that…