BOSTON (CBS) – Cases of the flu have increased across the country, resulting in a season that health officials are calling “moderately severe,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week.
According to the CDC, regions experiencing high flu activity increased from 21 to 26 states this week. The number of states reporting widespread flu activity rose from 36 to 46.
A GoFundMe page claimed the flu took the life of a 51-year-old Needham woman last week. The page stated that Jenny Ching was “diagnosed with flu, and that quickly led to pneumonia,” and “the infection spread so rapidly that her body could not adequately fight it.” Ching, according to the page, leaves behind a husband and two young sons.
“We are still seeing rates of influenza rising. So, it’s expected to get worse at least over the next several weeks,” said Dr. Brian Chow, an infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center.
Chow says this particular strain of flu, H3N2, can be very dangerous for kids, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system.
Last year’s vaccine against H3N2 was only 32 percent effective. It is unclear how well this year’s vaccine is working.
Chow and other experts say it is still important to get it.
“Even though it may not prevent all cases of flu, it can prevent you from getting severe flu, it can prevent you from being in the hospital, and it can prevent certain people from dying from influenza,” Chow said.