According to a study released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza is still rapidly spreading throughout the United States.
States in the South including Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia continue to be the primary locations for most of the worst respiratory diseases. According to the CDC, there are indications that the flu is spreading more widely in places like Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.
It has been more than ten years since the United States has seen such widespread flu activity this early in the usual flu season. That occurs before the anticipated hectic Thanksgiving travel period.
According to epidemiologist and team leader of the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team Lynnette Brammer, “Flu hospitalization rates right now are the highest we’ve observed at this time of year in the last decade.”
The nation is currently battling to contain a tripledemic of viruses, including the flu, Covid, and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The early flu surge is unusual. Older adults can also develop problems from viral infections, although young children are more at risk.
According to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, the H1N1 and H3N2 flu viruses that are now circulating tend to attack very young and very old persons.
Schaffner stated, “Historically, we believed that H3N2 might be more severe in adults. But there is no doubt that it is impacting kids at the same time.
According to Brammer, flu rates “are highest among persons 65 and older and children under 5 years old.”
Is Tamiflu In Short Supply?
Tamiflu, a prescription antiviral medication that lessens the most severe symptoms of the flu, has experienced sporadic shortages due to the increase in patients with influenza diagnoses.
The medicine is on backorder, at least at my drugstore,” a pharmacist in Charlotte, North Carolina, told NBC News. “We don’t have any.” The most recent CDC data describes the flu activity in North Carolina as continuing to be “extremely high.”
The demand for Tamiflu has increased recently, according to two additional pharmacists in Indian Land, South Carolina, a Charlotte neighborhood that is on the border of North and South Carolina.
Patients aged 2 weeks and older may use Tamiflu. When given within 48 hours of flu symptoms, it usually works best.
No pharmacist had been given permission to speak on behalf of their employer, thus everyone talked under the condition of anonymity.
CVS Health reported that it is “seeing higher demand” for Tamiflu across the country in an email to NBC News.
Although the company continued to use its current inventory network to deliver Tamiflu and other flu-related drugs to stores, it warned that there would be more instances where specific pharmacies might experience brief stock shortages.
Speaking to NBC News, pharmacists reported having trouble locating liquid formulations of Tamiflu. Both a liquid and a tablet form of the antiviral are available. For kids and adults who have trouble swallowing medicines, the liquid form is frequently employed.
In contrast, the Food and Drug Administration stated that it is “not aware of any shortages of Tamiflu or its generics” on the national level.
Flu vaccines are commonly available, but Schaffner noted that vaccine fatigue may be setting in. According to him, compared to other years, Americans are “lagging behind” in getting their flu shots this season.
Although the flu vaccination may not be able to prevent infection, there are indications that it does a good job of keeping people out of the hospital this year.