The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday that influenza cases have been on the rise among young adults in recent weeks.
While global flu numbers are relatively low, the CDC reports that more than 90% of illnesses are among children and young adults aged 5 to 24.
Most outbreaks are caused by H3N2, a virus that researchers say is particularly dangerous because it mutates more quickly than other influenza strains. The last time H3N2 was the most common strain was during the 2017-18 flu season, when there were 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 52,000 flu-related fatalities in the United States. According to the CDC, this is the worst flu outbreak since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a flu outbreak at the University of Michigan, where hundreds of students have tested positive for the virus. In the last month, flu epidemics have also been reported on other college campuses.
Experts are concerned that when college students and young people who may have been exposed to the flu return home for the holidays, they may spread the virus across the country.
“This is the time of year when many people will be meeting together for the holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, and there’s just the potential to amplify it,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a University of Toronto widespread illness expert.
“It’s on its way.” “It’s unclear how big of a flu season we’ll have, but we’ll have one,” he said.