CDC: Flu now widespread in 37 states

Hands of elderly patient
Hands of elderly patient

06photo / iStock

All numbers in today's latest update on flu from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that disease activity rose higher in the third week of 2017.

Three new flu deaths in kids, widespread activity in states

The CDC reported three new pediatric deaths from influenza. So far this season, there have been a total of eight pediatric deaths. The CDC said there is still time for all children over the age of 6 months to get a flu vaccine, as several weeks in the flu season remain.

The CDC also said that two pediatric deaths reported last week were associated with H3N2, while one of this week's cases was from influenza B. The subtypes are unknown for the other deaths.

In another indicator of rising activity, 37 states, up from last week’s 29, are reporting widespread flu. Ten states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee, as well as New York City, are reporting high levels of flu activity. Last week, only seven states reported high flulike illness (ILI) activity.

More clinic, hospital visits

This is the sixth consecutive week the CDC said all 10 of its regions are reporting above-baseline percentages of clinic visits for ILI. The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for ILI is 3.4%; the national baseline is 2.2%.

In week 3 of the 2017 flu season, 93.2% of all positive lab specimens identified by the CDC were influenza A, while influenza B accounted for 6.8%. Of subtyped influenza A samples, H3N2 remains dominant, a strain that typically exacts the heaviest toll on young children and seniors.

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses also increased during the week ending on Jan 21 to 18.4%. Last week that number was 15.3%.

Hospitalization rates jump

Since October 1, 2016, there have been a total of 4,317 laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations.

Hospitalization rates jumped from an overall level of 10.2 per 100,000 population to 15.4 per 100,000 in week 3. The level in seniors rose from 47.3 per 100,000 population to 72.2 per 100,000. Children under the age of 5 years were admitted for flu at a rate of 8.4 per 100,000.

Pneumonia and flu deaths rose above the seasonal baseline as well as the epidemic threshold for the first time this season, indicating that the illnesses were responsible for 7.3% of all deaths. That flu indicator typically lags other flu markers.

See also:

Jan 27 Flu View

Jan 27 Flu View summary 

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