By Julia Belluz - Friday, January 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
There has been plenty of discussion about a particularly bad influenza season in Canada, and even more so in the U.S., as both nations appear to brim with feverish, coughing patients. Things have been so bad south of the border that New York state and Boston declared public states of emergency and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that flu-related deaths have reached into epidemic territory.
But what does that actually mean? According to the CDC, the epidemic threshold for influenza—a virus that attacks your respiratory system, not your guts—is when related deaths account for more than 7.2 per cent of all deaths in a given week. For the week ending Jan. 12, 8.3 per cent of all deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza, just above the epidemic threshold.
This sounds scary, but the death counts from pneumonia and influenza actually aren’t all that high when compared to recent flu seasons. Check out the chart below: Continue…