"Overall hospitalizations are now significantly higher than what we've seen for this time of year since our current tracking system began nearly a decade ago, in 2010", Schuchat said.
"We extend our condolences to this family and all families in SC who have suffered a lost during this flu season", said Dr. Lilian Peake, DHEC's Director of Public Health. Federal health officials say this year's is one of the worst, sickening and hospitalizing individuals at a rate that has not been seen in years.
The dominant strain for the season is the Influenza A H3N2 strain, which jumpstarted the season in the final weeks of 2017 - and continues to drive most of the cases seen by doctors. "The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot", the department said in an emailed statement.
"This is a hard season, and we can't predict how much longer the severe season will last", Schuchat said.
If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever.
Centre for Disease Control This graphic shows the number of cases in 2017/18 in the US in comparison with other recent years
Laurie Lilley, nursing director for Bureau/Putnam/Marshall County Health Departments, said the vaccine won't eliminate the chances of catching the flu, but it could help reduce the risk.
The latest FluView surveillance numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that outpatient influenza-like illness (ILI) activity has now reached 7.7% of all clinic visits, which matches the highest level during the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic.
The CDC has received reports of antiviral drug shortages in some places.
"This flu season is turning out to be particularly challenging". This outbreak is now at or above epidemic level and is as bad as the swine flu outbreak of 2009. If you get the flu, take steps to prevent passing the infection to others.
Susie Bennett, a registered nurse with the Cass County Health Department, said the department has given about 650 flu shots to children and adults this flu season.
The weekly influenza update published February 8 reported 748 cases for the week ending February 3. By every major indicator used by the CDC, flu activity is rising and not falling. "Covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze and cough and frequently washing your hands are also effective", Harrist said. Here are some common myths - and realities - about the flu and the flu vaccine.