Jan 22, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Most signs of flu activity are showing continued declines, except for a rise in deaths from pneumonia and flu and a small uptick in pediatric flu deaths, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.
In its weekly update the CDC reported that doctor's visits for flu-like illness showed another decrease last week and that hospitalization rates have leveled off, with very few involving confirmed pandemic H1N1 infections.
The CDC said the increase in deaths from pneumonia and influenza—which rose above the epidemic threshold—likely reflect an increase in pneumonia deaths in older people, which are not always flu-related.
Nine pediatric flu deaths were reported, up from seven the previous week. Three of the patients had lab-confirmed pandemic H1N1 infections, four involved influenza A viruses of undetermined subtypes that were probably the pandemic virus, and two were seasonal flu infections from the 2008-2009 season.
No states reported widespread flu activity, and the number of states reporting regional activity fell to seven last week, down from nine the previous week. States reporting regional activity were Alabama, Georgia, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia. Hawaii, New Mexico, and New York fell out of the regional activity category while South Carolina was added.
About 98% of the flu viruses subtyped last week were pandemic H1N1. Analysis of respiratory specimens turned up five seasonal flu samples—one H3N2 and four influenza B.
Lab officials detected one new oseltamivir-resistant pandemic H1N1 case, raising the number detected since April 2009 to 54.
Meanwhile, the cumulative total of pandemic H1N1 vaccine doses made available to states for ordering rose to 144,092,400, the CDC reported yesterday. The total increased by almost 5 million since the previous week.