Health officials say the worst of the flu season is over
NEW YORK (AP) - The worst of the flu season appears to be over.
The number of states reporting intense or widespread flu dropped again last week, U.S. health officials said Friday.
The season started earlier than normal, spiking first in the Southeast and then spreading. But now, by some measures, flu activity has been ebbing for at least four weeks in much of the country. Flu and pneumonia deaths have been dropping for two weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
"It's likely that the worst of the current flu season is over," CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said in an email.
It's been nine years since a conventional flu season started like this one. That was the winter of 2003-04 - one of the deadliest in the past 35 years, with more than 48,000 deaths. Like this year, that season had the same dominant flu strain, one that tends to make people sicker.
But back then, the flu vaccine didn't protect against that bug, and fewer people got flu shots. The vaccine is reformulated each year, and the CDC has said this year's vaccine is a good match to the types that are circulating. A preliminary CDC study showed this year's version is about 60 percent effective.
So far, the season has been labeled moderately severe.
The government does not keep a running tally of flu-related deaths in adults, but has received reports of 59 such deaths in children. The most - nine - were in Texas, where flu activity was still high last week.
On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the CDC.
Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months or older.
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - A California family has its dog back, a year and a half after it went missing while the family was camping in western Arizona. The Daily Courier (http://bit.ly/18wyRH5 ) reportsMore >>
Meko had wandered off from the family's tent at a campground in Parker on the Fourth of July weekend in 2012, apparently taken by a man who also was in the campground.More >>
MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Mesa police have released the identity of a 14-year-old girl whose dead body was found in a trash container and say her death was a homicide. Police say the body of Claudia Ann LuceroMore >>
Police say the body of Claudia Ann Lucero was found early Friday and that she was last seen Thursday morning at her home.More >>
SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Before Aaron Collins died, he gave his brother, Seth, a mission: Eat, be merry and leave a giant tip. On Wednesday night, Seth Collins of Lexington, Ky., did just that, leavingMore >>
Before Aaron Collins died, he gave his brother, Seth, a mission: Eat, be merry and leave a giant tip.More >>
EL CENTRO, CALIF. (13 On Your Side) - Officials have released some of the names of the people arrested during Wednesday's massive drug trafficking bust in Imperial Valley. But as we previously reported,More >>
Officials have released some of the names of the people arrested during Wednesday's massive drug trafficking bust in Imperial Valley.More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - More than 30 teams showed up to Yuma Catholic's annual Rachel Determan Rib Cook-Off, ready to grill and show off their best ribs. This year, "the Chicharones" took homeMore >>
More than 30 teams showed up to Yuma Catholic's annual Rachel Determan Rib Cook-Off, ready to grill and show off their best ribs.More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) – In a massive drug sting aimed at one of the most powerful Mexican drug cartels, the Imperial Valley Narcotics Task force arrested ten drug smugglers trafficking meth andMore >>
In a massive drug sting aimed at one of the most powerful Mexican drug cartels, the Imperial Valley Narcotics Task force arrested ten drug smugglers trafficking meth and cocaine across the border from Mexicali.More >>
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Jurors resumed deliberations Monday on the punishment for an Arizona inmate who kidnapped and murdered a retired Oklahoma. The federal panel is considering whether John McCluskeyMore >>
The couple crossed paths with McCluskey and fellow fugitives at a New Mexico rest stop following an Arizona prison break.More >>