Influenza cases rise among children, young adults, according to CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory on Wednesday that the number of flu cases has increased among young adults in recent weeks.

While flu cases are still low nationwide, more than 90 percent are among children and young adults ages 5-24, according to the CDC.

Most cases are of the H3N2 lineage – a strain that health experts say is particularly troublesome because it tends to mutate faster than other strains of the flu. The last time H3N2 was the dominant strain was the 2017-18 flu season, when the United States saw 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 52,000 flu-related deaths, the worst since the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

A CDC map shows flu rates.CDC

The CDC has been investigating a flu outbreak at the University of Michigan, where hundreds of students have tested positive for the flu. Flu outbreaks have been reported on other college campuses in the past month.

Experts are concerned that students and young people who may have been exposed to the flu could spread it across the country as they travel home for the holidays.

“This is the time of year when a lot of people get together for the holidays for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years, and there’s just the potential to amplify it,” says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto.

He said people, especially those most at risk for serious illness, should get vaccinated because the virus doesn’t stay within a certain age group for long.

“It’s coming. It’s not quite clear how big the flu season will be, but we’re going to have a flu season,” he said.

The flu season typically runs from October through the end of May, peaking between December and February, according to the CDC.

Influenza experts had previously said they were concerned the nation could be at risk for a serious flu season this year, after seasonal flu cases hit an all-time low last year when large parts of the nation were shut down due to the pandemic.

Experts urge people to get both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, saying a rise in flu infections this winter could mean an extra burden

n the national health care system, which is already dealing with a spate of coronavirus cases.

As part of its health advisory, the CDC recommends that people with flu-like symptoms get tested for both the flu and COVID-19.

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