News / Health

US Flu Outbreak Earlier, Spreading Faster

US Flu Outbreak Earlier, Spreading Fasteri
X
January 11, 2013 4:45 PM
The United States is in the grip of a widespread flu outbreak, with crises in Chicago and Boston. An estimated 36,000 people die of flu in the United States each year and it kills some 500,000 people annually around the world. VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports on what doctors say is an unusually early and busy flu season in the U.S.
US Flu Outbreak Earlier, Spreading Faster
Cindy Saine
The United States is in the grip of a widespread flu outbreak, with crises in Chicago and Boston. An estimated  36,000 people die of flu in the United States each year and it kills some 500,000 people annually around the world.  Doctors say it is an unusually early and busy flu season in the U.S.
 
Massachusetts is one of 41 U.S. states now reporting widespread cases of influenza. Tom Menino is the mayor of Boston, the state's biggest city.
 

“I’m declaring a public health emergency in the city of Boston. The latest reports show an increasingly tough flu season," he said. 
 
A hospital in eastern Pennsylvania set up a special tent outside the emergency room to deal with the wave of flu patients.
 
Several hospitals in Chicago have had to turn patients away and send them to other hospitals in the area.
 
Dr. Marc Siegel, of George Washington University Hospital in Washington, says seasonal influenza is an international phenomenon. It usually breaks out in the coldest season of the year.  
 
"It generally moves through Eastern Europe, then to Western Europe and then kind of spreads westward to the United States. Now with international travel, we often see it spread everywhere much quicker," he said. 
 
Dr. Siegel describes the typical symptoms of flu. "So influenza generally gives you a muscle ache, headache, high fevers. It can be associated with a sore throat, runny nose, cough, but any number of other viruses can give you similar symptoms that might not be quite as severe," he said.
 
Influenza Pandemics of the 20th Century

  • 1918 Spanish Flu: Killed more than 500,000 people in the U.S., and 20 million to 50 million people worldwide.
  • 1957 Asian Flu: Killed roughly 70,000 people in the U.S.
  • 1968 Hong Kong Flu: First detected in Hong Kong, this virus caused roughly 34,000 deaths in the U.S.
Doctors say if flu symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath, patients should see a doctor.  And they recommend a flu vaccination as the best protection against the illness.
 
Doctors warn that small children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to serious complications from the flu.
 
A six-year-old girl from Dallas died just hours after her grandparents took her to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms and she was seen and released.  
 
Veleta Johnson is her grandmother. “They looked down her throat, checked her ears, vitals were all good, said she had the flu and told me what to do to make sure she felt better," she said. 
 
Doctors say they do not know if this unusually early flu season has peaked yet, or if this year’s outbreak will get worse.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
January 11, 2013 10:14 AM
All you need is vitamin D. NOT some New World Order propaganda flu shot. It's a SHAM!! How many of you BLISSFULLY IGNORANT people will be corralled into a pharmacy to "get your flu shot". How many really know what the regime is pumping you up with? Beware of this and PROJECT ESCHELON!!!

by: Geetha Mohan from: West Malaysia
January 10, 2013 8:08 PM
Firstly flu is due to lack of immune system. I am no doctor but taking spices in tablet form will help. Prolong use of cold drinks and wrong diet can lead to weakness of body. My advise take a general note of life style of people.
In Response

by: Makani from: Hawaii
January 11, 2013 3:42 PM
Calm down Meggie. Malaysia was simply giving advice not shoving it down your throat. Perhaps a little more layers of clothes are in order?
In Response

by: Meggie from: Boston
January 11, 2013 9:00 AM
Get over yourself you self righteous clod. I am very healthy normally and eat correct vegetarian meals with tons of supplements and I was still taken down by the flu. You don't have severe cold weather in Malaysia so you do not have that factor. When it is bitterly cold your body's resistance is compromised.
In Response

by: Sue Gee from: USA
January 11, 2013 3:57 AM
Which spices in tablet form do you recommend to strengthen immune system and prevent flu?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs