Flu, COVID-19 infections tick up in US

THE US is experiencing increasing flu and COVID-19 infections nationwide, with elevated respiratory illnesses, particularly among young children.

Increasing numbers of people have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been admitted to hospitals with severe symptoms.

About 10% COVID-19 tests reported to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were positive during the latest week ending Nov 25, according to CDC data, said Xinhua.

Emergency department visits diagnosed as COVID-19 increased by over 10 percent in the latest week compared with a week before.

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 reached nearly 20,000 for the week ending Nov 25, marking a 10 percent jump, CDC data showed.

COVID-19 continued to cause the most hospitalisations and deaths among respiratory illnesses – about 15,000 hospitalisations and about 1,000 deaths every week, said CDC director Mandy Cohen.

Meanwhile, flu rates have been climbing, with a six percent test positivity rate nationwide and 4,268 hospitalisations for the week ending Nov 25, according to CDC data.

Eight children have died due to flu-related causes so far this season, as have about 1,100 adults, according to the CDC’s latest flu summary.

Seasonal influenza activity continued to increase in most parts of the country, most notably in the South Central, Southeast, Mountain, and West Coast regions, said CDC in a weekly report.

RSV cases

Emergency department visits and hospitalisations caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) continued to increase across the country.

RSV-associated hospitalisation rates remained elevated among young children and increased among older adults, according to the CDC.

RSV is a highly contagious virus that causes infections of the lungs and breathing passages in individuals of all age groups.

In older adults, RSV is a common cause of lower respiratory tract disease, which affects the lungs and can cause life-threatening pneumonia and bronchiolitis, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

CDC has been monitoring increases in respiratory illness reported recently among children, including potential elevated rates of paediatric pneumonia in parts of the US.

The agency recommends that children aged six months and older get both a flu and COVID-19 vaccine, to protect against the most serious health effects of fall and winter viruses. – Dec 6, 2023

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