Jan 29, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Delaware was the only state reporting widespread influenza activity last week, as the flu continued a decline that began in late December, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Twenty states still reported regional flu activity the week of Jan 18 through 24, while 19 states and New York City had local activity, the CDC said. Only scattered cases were reported in nine states, Washington, DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico, according to the Jan 30 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The apparent peak for the current flu season came the week that ended Dec 20, when 45 states had widespread activity.
Flu-like illnesses prompted 2.0% of patient visits to the CDC's sample of about 1,000 sentinel healthcare providers last week. That was the same as the previous week and remained below the estimated national baseline of 2.5%.
Pneumonia and influenza accounted for 9.7% of all deaths reported in 122 cities—lower than the previous week's 10.3% but still above the epidemic threshold of 8.2%, the CDC said.
Preliminary data show that 121 children under age 18 have died of flu-related causes this season, an increase of 10 since last week, according to the report. All but 13 of the deaths occurred before Jan 1. Twenty-six of the children had medical conditions that increased their risk of flu complications. Of 59 children whose vaccination status was reported, 57 had not received flu shots.
CDC. Update: influenza activity—United States, January 18-24, 2004. MMWR 2004 Jan 30;53(3):63-5 [Full text]