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CDC: Flu hospitalizations rising, especially among seniors

January 18, 2013

Hospitalizations for flu have surged in the past few weeks, especially among older Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today. The hospitalization rate for people age 65 and older is 82 per 100,000, which is typical to the rate seen in severe flu seasons such as 2007-2008, officials said. The agency continues to recommend vaccination as the best way to prevent the flu, and antiviral treatment within 48 hours of symptoms for all people with confirmed or suspected flu who are hospitalized, severely ill or at higher risk for complications. The Food and Drug Administration anticipates intermittent, temporary shortages of the oral suspension form of Tamiflu - the liquid version often prescribed for children - for the remainder of the flu season. For more information and instructions for the emergency compounding of an oral suspension from Tamiflu 75 mg capsules, visit www.fda.gov. While spot shortages of flu vaccine have also been reported, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., said vaccine makers have produced up to 145 million doses, of which only 129 million have been distributed. She said health care providers can locate additional vaccine for purchase through the Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System, while consumers can use the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.flu.gov to locate a vaccine provider in their area.