Dashing hopes that we might have already seen the peak in this year's flu season, this week's FluView numbers show a still growing winter epidemic, with ILI visits to doctors last week exceeding anything we've seen since the height of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
31.5 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population to 41.9, with those over 65 being hardest hit (180+).
P&I mortality - which is often a lagging indicator, and whose numbers reflect deaths for the week ending January 6, 2018 (week 1) - continues to climb, rising from 8.2% in last week's FluView report to 9.1% this week.
While not quite at the levels seen during the 2013 and 2015 winter flu seasons - given the delays in reporting and the current trajectory - we could see those numbers tested in the next couple of weeks.
Although H3N2 still dominates the fluscape across the United States, we continue to see both H1N1 and Influenza B creeping up in the stats (see chart below) raising the possibility of seeing a second strain take hold later in the spring.
Some additional highlights of this weeks report include:
Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report
2017-2018 Influenza Season Week 3 ending January 20, 2018
All data are preliminary and may change as more reports are received.
During week 3 (January 14-20, 2018), influenza activity increased in the United States.
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Viral Surveillance: The most frequently identified influenza virus subtype reported by public health laboratories during week 3 was influenza A(H3). The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories slightly increased.
Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was above the system-specific epidemic threshold in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System.
Influenza-associated Pediatric Deaths: Seven influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported.
Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate of 41.9 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported.
Outpatient Illness Surveillance:The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 6.6%, which is above the national baseline of 2.2%. All 10 regions reported ILI at or above region-specific baseline levels. New York City, Puerto Rico, and 39 states experienced high ILI activity; the District of Columbia and five states experienced moderate ILI activity; three states experienced low ILI activity; and three states experienced minimal ILI activity.
Geographic Spread of Influenza:The geographic spread of influenza in Puerto Rico and 49 states was reported as widespread; Guam reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and one state reported local activity; and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported sporadic activity.
With potentially 6 to 10 weeks left of influenza, it isn't too late to get a flu shot. And whether you've had the jab or not, always practice good flu hygiene (wash hands, cover coughs, and STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK).