The country, especially the Midwest, is being socked with a flu strain that the Centers for Disease Control has rated as “severe” because of the higher-than-average number of cases being reported.
Over a dozen people have died already from a strain of the H3N2 flu virus this season according to the CDC.
By the end of December, the agency had announced that cases of the flu had exceeded the national baseline, and the sickness is now considered to be at the epidemic threshold of 6.8 percent.
Those most at risk are children under five years and the elderly as well as those with compromised immune systems.
Complicating matters is that this year’s flu shot has been less effective than in previous years because the strain of influenza hitting the country began mutating only after the flu shots were formulated this year.
One shocking case was that of 17-year-old Shannon Zwanziger of Owatonna, Minnesota.
The teen had suffered from the flu for a week with fevers, a sore throat, and aches and pains, but suddenly died in her mother’s arms after the week-long illness.
“Though we cannot predict what will happen the rest of this flu season, it’s possible we may have a season that’s more severe than most,” director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Tom Frieden said during a press conference earlier in December.
22 states have reported a higher-than-average number of cases. Cases have been reported in 36 states.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.