Thursday, May 28, 2015Thursday, May 28, 2015

Flu reaches epidemic level in United States: CDC

Published on Jan 12, 2013 12:54 AM
People line up behind a sign advising people against the recent flu outbreak at a Duane Reade pharmacy in New York January 10, 2013.-- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Influenza has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with 7.3 per cent of deaths last week caused by pneumonia and the flu, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

That is above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 per cent, CDC said. Nine of the 10 regions of the United States had "elevated"flu activity, confirming that seasonal flu has spread across the country and reached high levels several weeks before the usual time of late January or February. The other US region, the Southwest and California, had "normal" flu activity last week.

The vaccine against the flu strains that were forecast to predominate this year is 62 per cent effective, scientists reported on Friday in the CDC's weekly publication.

That is considered "moderate" effectiveness and means that almost four in 10 people who receive the vaccine and are exposed to the virus will nevertheless become infected.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!