Jan 11 The proportion of all deaths in the
United States last week caused by pneumonia and influenza
reached 7.3 percent, above the epidemic threshold of 7.2
percent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
said on Friday.
Only the Southwest and California had "normal" flu activity
last week, the agency said. The other nine regions had
"elevated" activity, confirming that seasonal flu has spread
across the country and reached high levels several weeks before
the usual time of late January or February.
The vaccine against the flu strain that was forecast to
predominate this year, called H3N2, is 62 percent effective,
scientists reported on Friday in the CDC's weekly publication.
That is considered "moderate" effectiveness and means that
almost four in 10 people who receive the vaccine and are exposed
to the virus will nevertheless become infected. But the vaccine
can reduce the severity of the illness, preventing pneumonia and
other life-threatening results of flu.