Flu season is not over yet

This 1975 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

But experts also are monitoring an increase in illnesses from a kind of flu virus that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, especially in the elderly.

During the week ending March 2, nine more children died of influenza-related causes, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 64 for the season. The season usually ends in May.

This flu season has marked a return to more typical numbers after last year's widespread outbreak of the virus, which prompted the federal Centers for Disease Control to classify the virus as "high severity across all age groups" in the US for the first time. But data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) late last week revealed that 32 states reported high levels of flu activity, with 21 of those saying their levels were higher than they've ever been before.

Flu activity remains high across the nation, and there's a second wave of severe infections striking some states.

There's a strong chance this flu season has peaked, but health officials are watching a recent wave of illnesses from a nastier flu strain.

Sixty-four children have died from the flu or flu complications so far this season.

As March began, many believed that flu season was on its way out.

A milder strain of influenza has been the most common cause of flu illnesses this season.

The CDC estimates on a preliminary basis this season that 22.8 million to 26.3 million people have been sick with flu; 10.6 to 12.4 million flu medical visits have been made; 289,000 to 347,000 people have been hospitalized with flu and there have been 18,900 to 31,200 flu deaths between October 1 and March 5. CDC recorded about 37 hospitalizations per 100,000 for the week ending March 2, with higher rates among older adults, children up to age 4 years, and individuals aged 50-64 years.

"Although it's not flawless, it still prevents many, many infections, and even if you should get influenza despite having received the vaccine, it tends to make a less severe infection".

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