She said that questions of how much longer the season will last are still unanswerable: The nation is in week 11 of heightened flu activity, but some seasons last 20 weeks.
"We were hoping to have better news to share today, but unfortunately it looks like this flu season continues to be particularly challenging", Dr. Anne Schuchat, the acting CDC director, said in a conference call with reporters. "We have been seeing record numbers of patients in our Emergency Department".
Most of Indiana's flu-related deaths this season have involved people age 65 and older, but almost 83 percent of the influenza-like illnesses reported this year to the state involve people age 24 and younger.
"The flu is incredibly hard to predict, and we don't know if we've hit the peak yet".
The CDC began tracking hospitalizations in 2010. Nearly 150 kids died in the last serious flu season in 2014-2015.
Last week, 43 states had high patient traffic for the flu, up from 42, the CDC reported.
Overall, the data showed 14,094 new laboratory-confirmed cases of illness during the week ending February 3, bringing the season total to 151,983. Four of those flu victims were under 18 years old.
While shortages have been reported of anti-viral drugs that can limit the severity of bouts of flu, manufacturers report adequate supplies. Trinity has also seen a decline in the number of patients admitted to the hospital with the flu. Forty-eight states are still reporting high activity, with OR and Hawaii as the exceptions. "It makes sense to get vaccinated because it can protect you against the other strain", Schuchat said.
Schuchat said hospitalizations also have increased for people who have developed bacterial pneumonia as a effect of the flu. Scientists are studying circulating viruses to see if anything unusual is going on, Schuchat said. They're also more likely to be blocked by the flu vaccine.
To combat the increase in flu-B, the health department will offer free flu shots Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 4 to 6:30 p.m.in its Public Health Clinic, 650 Newtown Pike.
Schuchat had a special message for clinicians about the importance of antiviral therapy, especially among those at risk of developing severe flu complications, or in young children, elderly adults, pregnant women, or those with preexisting conditions, such as heart or lung disease.
This flu season, hospitalization rates have surpassed the nasty season of the winter of 2014-2015, when the vaccine was a poor match to the main bug.