Q:

What are some national and international statistics for flu deaths?

A:

Quick Answer

The Centers for Disease Control reports the average number of annual flu deaths in the United States to be between 3,000 and 49,000 based on data from 1977 through 2007. The World Health Organization estimates between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths each year worldwide are caused by the flu.

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Full Answer

The exact number of annual flu-related deaths in the United States is hotly debated, because the CDC relies on a number of estimations to determine the number. Many flu deaths are not necessarily reported as such, as complications arising from the flu can cause deaths. Annual flu seasons vary greatly in length and severity, and death rates change depending on the type of virus that is most prevalent during any given season.

The WHO states that there are 3 types of flu viruses: A, B and C. Type A influenza is further broken down into subtypes depending on the particular combination of various virus proteins present. Influenza A H1N1 and A H3N2 are two subtypes of Type A influenza. Only types A and B influenza viruses are included in seasonal flu vaccines, as Type C is much more rare than the other two.

Symptoms of seasonal influenza come on suddenly and include high fever, muscle aches and pains, headache, sore throat, cough and extreme fatigue, notes the WHO. While most people can recover from flu symptoms within a week or two, people at high risk for complications can become severely ill or die. High-risk people include pregnant women, adults over age 65, people with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems, and children younger than 2 years of age.

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