Deadly Flu Season Forecast For Older Americans

This year’s flu strain is particularly dangerous for older adults

WTOP – The flu season is beginning to gain traction with a predominant strain that concerns one infectious disease expert, and he’s urging everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot.

Dr. Bill Petri, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Virginia, said:

“We’re starting to see the first cases. And it’s the more dangerous of the three strains that’s here.

“It’s what’s called influenza A (H3N2), which is associated with worse diseases, especially in the elderly.”

In the past, influenza A (H3N2) virus-predominant seasons were associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in people 65 and older compared with other age groups and other influenza viruses.

“Your risk of dying — if you’re over 65 years of age from influenza — is substantial.”

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That’s according to a recent advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that warned about increased A (H3N2) activity.

The advisory states most cases now are occurring among young adults and in college and university settings, where there’s potential also for co-circulation with COVID-19.

The flu was nearly nonexistent in the first year of the pandemic, probably due to mask wearing and social distancing.

Now, more than 2% of office visits are due to influenza-like illness, which, according to Petri, suggests the seasonal flu epidemic is close.

“It does appear that we are on track for the usual year of influenza, which is not good news,” he said …

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