CDC: 80,000 people died of flu last winter in U.S.

NASA via Getty ImagesNASA astronaut Scott Kelly gives himself a flu shot for an ongoing study on the human immune system

NASA via Getty ImagesNASA astronaut Scott Kelly gives himself a flu shot for an ongoing study on the human immune system

This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades - since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. Flu is so common that not all flu cases are reported, and flu is not always listed on death certificates.

80,000 People Died of Flu Last Winter in U.S.

Flu experts knew it was a very bad season, but at least one found the size of the estimate surprising.

"I think a lot of people had a bad experience past year", she said.

Prepare for the coming flu season and get a freebie since shots are covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. No appointment is necessary.

Meanwhile, Islanders aged 65 and over - an age group that is more likely to suffer complications from flu, resulting in hospitalisation - will be eligible for an "adjudvanted" vaccine for the first time.

Flu vaccines that were not wholly effective exacerbated the problem, but Redfield told AP that he'd still "like to see more people get vaccinated".

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Fatal complications from the flu can include pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.

The seemingly substantial figure is preliminary and subject to some adjustment, CDC officials said, although they don't anticipate a decrease.

According to the CDC, it's hard to predict the timing, severity and length of a flu season. The 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted almost two years, killed more than 500,000 Americans, historians estimate.

USA health officials on Thursday are scheduled to hold a media event in Washington, D.C., to stress the importance of vaccinations to protect against whatever flu circulates this coming winter. So far, the flu that's been detected is a milder strain, and early signs are that the vaccine is shaping up to be a good match, Jernigan said.

And it has also revealed that Islanders aged 65 and over will received a "turbo-charged" vaccine, while pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions such as diabetes will have a "gold standard" jab that will protect them against four strains of virus.

"The thing that was most notable about past year was how high in terms of activity things were", said Nordlund.

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