DeKalb County

CDC officials say there's spot shortage of drug used to treat flu

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A group of the nation’s top flu experts is issuing a new warning about this dangerous flu season.

“The take-home message is that flu is in lots of places at the same time,” said CDC Influenza Division Director Dr. Dan Jernigan.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a briefing on the flu Tuesday afternoon.

According to the CDC, 49 states, including Georgia, are reporting widespread flu activity.

Health officials tell Channel 2 Action News this year’s most common strain, H3N2, is especially dangerous.

“This virus causes more hospitalizations, more illnesses and tends to be more severe in the very old and very young,” said CDC Influenza Division Epidemiology Chief Dr. Alicia Fry.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is reporting five flu-related deaths so far this season.

In addition, there have been more than 300 flu-related hospitalizations in Georgia.

CDC officials say this season is on track to potentially match the 2014-2015 season, which was severe.

Health experts say it is not too late to receive a flu vaccine, and encourage anyone who hasn’t to do so.

While health officials say there is enough flu vaccine, they are reporting spot shortages of anti-viral drugs used to treat the flu.

“Actually, I’ve heard from several colleagues here in Atlanta that they have had difficulties filling prescriptions, even after going to several pharmacies,” said Dr. Fry.

The CDC is working to address the spot shortages.

“What we do is we work with manufacturers to make sure that the warehouses have enough drugs or redirect drugs to areas that have higher activity,” said Dr. Fry.