Just when we all thought we were done with this winter’s deadly flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that another influenza strain could be about to hit the nation.
While the season was mainly dominated by the H3N2 virus, an influenza A strain that is more severe and less receptive to vaccines than other types of the flu, influenza B has now overtaken influenza A. And that, says the CDC, could be setting the stage for a second wave of misery.
Cases of the B-strain made up nearly 60 percent of the country’s flu cases reported during the week of March 17, said the CDC. Five influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported, along with a flu-associated hospitalization rate of 93.5 per 100,000 population. Higher-than-normal flu activity was reported in six states, while nine other starts reported moderate activity. Flu cases were widespread in California.
“We know that illness associated with influenza B can be just as severe as illness associated with influenza A,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told CNN. “We also know that influenza B tends to be more severe for younger children.”