Flu Hits Young and Middle-Aged Adults

Article excerpt

From November through December 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received a number of reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middleaged adults, many of whom were infected with influenza A (H1N1) pdm09(pH1N1) virus.

According to an agency health advisory, multiple pHI N1 -associated hospitalizations, including many requiring ICU admission, and some fatalities have been reported. The pHI N1 virus that emerged in 2009 caused more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults, although severe illness was seen in all age groups. While it is not possible to predict which influenza viruses will predominate during the entire 2013-14 influenza season, pH1N1 has been the predominant circulating virus so far. For the 2013-14 season, if the pHINI virus continues to circulate widely, illness that disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults may occur.

Seasonal influenza contributes to substantial morbidity and mortality each year in the United States. In the 2012-13 influenza season, the CDC estimates that there were approximately 380,000 influenzaassociated hospitalizations. Some areas of the United States are already experiencing high activity, and influenza activity is expected to increase.

The spectrum of illness observed thus far in the 2013-14 season has ranged from mild to severe and is consistent with that of other influenza seasons. …