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CDC warns of rising flu infection rates among young people

CDC warns of rising flu infection rates among young people
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned of an increase of influenza cases in recent weeks with 90% of cases among children and adults aged 5-24. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that cases of influenza have been on the rise among young people in recent weeks.

While flu activity is low nationally, the CDC noted that more than 90% of new cases found in the past few weeks have been among children and adults aged 5-24.

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Most of the cases are of the H3N2 strain, which was last the dominant strain during the 2017-18 flu season. That season saw 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 52,000 flu-related deaths in the United States, the worst since the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

Health experts say the strain is particularly troubling as it has a tendency to mutate more rapidly than other variants.

The CDC has also been investigating a flu outbreak at the University of Michigan where hundreds of students have tested positive for the virus.

Flu season usually begins in October and can run as late as May with peak activity between December and February, the CDC noted.

The agency added that an annual flu vaccination is the best method to prevent infection, with 162.5 million doses of flu vaccine distributed in the United States as of Nov. 5. This season's flue vaccine protects against H3N2, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

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