(UNDATED) – There’s a strong chance this flu season has peaked, but health officials are watching a recent wave of illnesses from a nastier flu strain.
The flu was reported to be widespread in Indiana and 47 other states last week. The Centers for Disease Control says experts also are monitoring an increase in illnesses from a kind of flu virus that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, especially in the elderly.
Last season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications, the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades. In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000, according to the CDC.
CDC officials estimate there have been somewhere around 20,000 to 30,000 flu-related deaths so far this winter.
In Indiana, as of March 2, 53 Hoosiers have died from the flu this season. Of those, 36 involved people 65 or older, two were between 5-12 years old, and six were 25-49 years old, and nine were 54-60 years old, according to the state health department.
They also think there have been around 300,000 flu-related hospitalizations and around 25 million flu illnesses.