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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 24, 2018 1:00 am

Flu season appears to be waning across US

Associated Press

NEW YORK – Could this nasty flu season finally be winding down?

U.S. health officials on Friday said fewer visits to the doctor last week – 1 out of 16 – were for fever, cough and other flu symptoms than during the previous two weeks. The number of states reporting high patient traffic for the flu also dropped, to 39 from 43.

Indiana's latest influenza report shows the state has experienced 219 flu-related deaths, compared with 195 a week earlier.

The report released Friday for the week ending Feb. 17 says 170 of the deaths have involved people age 65 and older, and 31 have been in the 50-64 age group. Eleven deaths have been among people ages 25 to 49, five in the 5-24 age group, and two among children ages 4 and under.

It says 18 deaths have occurred in Allen County, 17 in Marion County, followed by Hamilton, 11; Floyd, 10; Morgan, eight; Adams, Grant, St. Joseph and Vanderburgh, seven each; Shelby, 6; and Boone, Johnson, Madison and Tippecanoe, five each.

The report says 98 long-term care facilities in the state have reported outbreaks of flu-like illnesses this season.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they're cautious about saying the flu season has peaked but called the downturn encouraging. Flu usually peaks in February.

This season started early and surged for months. It has been driven by a formidable type of flu that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths. This year's flu vaccine is estimated to be only 25 percent effective against that type.