In today's FluView update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), officials said flu activity is high and on the rise across much of the United States.
"CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from flu," the CDC said. That’s almost 2 million more illnesses and 800 more deaths than reported in last week's update.
The CDC also said the rate of outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses (ILI), now 6.9%, is at the same level as the peak weeks in previous seasons. Last week, the ILI rate was 5.1%. All regions in the United States were above ILI baselines. All but four states (Kansas, Maine, North Dakota, and Vermont) have widespread flu activity.
This is the eighth week with elevated flu activity, and influenza B is still the dominant strain, which is not typical for the first half a flu season. Influenza B accounted for 67.9% of all positive flu specimens test last week, and almost all influenza B tested (99.6%) was Victoria lineage. Of influenza A detected, 2009 H1N1 represented 91.3% of subtyped specimens.
The CDC said flu type varied by age group.
"Nationally, influenza B/Victoria viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among children age 0-4 years (48% of reported viruses) and 5-24 years (59% of reported viruses), while A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among persons 25-64 years (42% of reported viruses) and 65 years of age and older (43% of reported viruses)," the CDC said.
Five more pediatric deaths
Five more children have died from flu this season, bringing the 2019-2020 total to 27. Three of the five fatalities were associated with influenza A, and two with influenza B. Out of the 27 deaths so far this season, 18 have been related to influenza B infections and 9 have been caused by influenza A.
The CDC said hospitalization rates jumped from 6.6 per 100,000 population to 9.2 per 100,000 population. The highest rate of hospitalization was among adults aged older than 65 (19.9 per 100,000 population), followed by children ages 0 to 4 (17.8 per 100,000 population) and adults ages 50 to 64 (10.0 per 100,000 population).
Hospitalization rates were split among influenza B (51.5%) and influenza A virus (47.8%) infections.
Jan 3 CDC FluView