News from the FDA/CDC

Flu activity down for a second straight week


 

A second straight week of reduced influenza activity suggests that the 2018-2019 flu season is on the decline, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza-like illness activity level, week ending March 2, 2019

The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 4.7% during the week ending March 2, which means that, thanks to a revision of the number for the previous week (Feb. 23) from 5.0% down to 4.9%, there have been two straight weeks of declines since outpatient visits reached a season-high 5.0% for the week ending Feb. 16, the CDC’s influenza division said March 8. The national baseline level is 2.2%.

This marks the second 2-week drop in ILI visits for the 2018-2019 season, as there was similar dip in the beginning of January before activity started rising again.

The latest drop in ILI visits is reflected in the activity map, which now has 21 states at level 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale. This compares with 24 the week before; 32 states were in the high range of 8-10, compared with the 33 reported last week, based on data from the Outpatient ILI Surveillance Network.

There were nine flu-related pediatric deaths reported during the week, with three occurring in the week ending March 2. To underscore the preliminary nature of these data, one of the deaths reported this week occurred in 2016. A total of 64 deaths in children have been associated with influenza so far for the 2018-2019 season, and the total for the 2015-2016 season is now 95, the CDC said.

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