44 countries with a high level of respiratory diseases
Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that influenza is on the rise across the United States, with 44 states reporting high levels.
The agency said that 31 US jurisdictions, which include the territories and the District of Columbia, have “very high” levels, while 16 areas had “high” levels as of November 26. Only Alaska, Vermont and Michigan reported lows flu transmission, while West Virginia and Hawaii report moderate levels.
According to the CDC, eleven states – including California, Texas and Virginia – have the highest levels of respiratory disease activity. CDC officials said 7.5 percent of outpatient doctor visits last week were due to flu-like illnesses.
“Seasonal flu activity is high and continues to increase across the country,” the CDC also said. “The number of hospital admissions due to influenza reported in [Health and Human Services] The protection system during the 47th week almost doubled compared to the 46th week,” it added.
The CDC estimates there have been at least 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from the flu so far this season. The deaths include at least 14 children.
A busy flu season is not unexpected. The United States has seen two mild seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, while some doctors said pandemic-related rules exacerbated this year’s flu spike.
At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, beds have reportedly been full for 54 days. “All curves are rising for RSV and influenza,” said Dr. John Cunningham, Comer’s chief medical officer.
At the same time, some officials believe that RSV infections have increased recently because children are now more vulnerable, no longer protected from common bugs as they were during the quarantine pandemic. Also, the virus, which usually affects children aged 1 and 2, now affects children up to 5 years of age more often.
Normally, RSV is a common and mild virus, but millions of children are exposed to it later in life due to pandemic-related stay-at-home orders and virtual learning rules.
The dominant flu strain so far is the type typically associated with higher rates of hospitalization and death, particularly in people 65 and older, according to the CDC.
Authorities also said there have been shortages of Tamiflu, amoxicillin and other drugs in recent weeks. There have also been sporadic reports of shortages of children’s Tylenol, although its manufacturer has said there is no shortage.
The number of prescriptions for Tamiflu is high for this time of year, according to To GoodRx, a company that helps people find discounts on prescription drugs. Several different Tamiflu or oseltamivir products were affected, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) announced via its database.
“Currently we have serious shortages of medicines. There is no Tamiflu for children. There is hardly any Tamiflu for adults. And this is brand name and generic,” Renae Kraft, a pharmacist in Oklahoma City, adding, “As far as antibiotics go, there aren’t many.”
“In my 25 years as a pediatrician, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Minnesota pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Stacene Maroushe told CNN late last month. “I’ve seen families who just can’t get a break. They have one viral disease after another. And now there’s the secondary effect of ear infections and pneumonia fueling the shortage of amoxicillin.”
Some parents have reported on social media that they are having trouble finding children’s Tylenol, which is used to reduce fever, in various places. Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer, disputed those reports a few weeks ago and said it had seen no evidence of a shortage.
“We have no shortage of children’s Tylenol in the United States,” Johnson & Johnson told the Daily Mail last month. “There is increased consumer-driven demand for our pediatric pain products in certain regions and we are taking all possible measures to ensure product availability.”
Neither is the US Food and Drug Administration reported any shortage of Tylenol or other over-the-counter medications. Erin Fox, head of the University of Utah’s Drug Information Service, told The Washington Post last week that the extent of the shortages was unclear.
“There are definitely distribution and supply chain issues that still exist,” she told the newspaper, adding that “the shortages appear to be largely a result of the spike in demand and should be resolved relatively quickly.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.