As far as the influenza virus is concerned, the new year started in the same way as the old one ended: with almost half of the states at the highest level of flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the week ending Jan. 6, 2018, there were 23 states – including California, Illinois, and Texas – at level 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale for influenza-like illness (ILI) activity, which was up from 22 for the last full week of 2017. Joining the 23 states in the “high” range were New Jersey and Ohio at level 9 and Colorado at level 8, the CDC’s influenza division reported Jan. 12.
Nationwide, the proportion of outpatient visits for ILI was 5.8% for the week ending Jan. 6, which is up 166% from just 5 weeks ago, when it was at the national baseline of 2.2% for the week ending Dec. 2, and is higher than at any time during the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC data show.
Seven flu-related pediatric deaths were reported during the week ending Jan. 6, although one occurred during the week ending Dec. 16 and two were during the week ending Dec. 23. There have been a total of 20 pediatric deaths related to influenza so far for the 2017-2018 season, the CDC said. In 2016-2017, there were 110 pediatric deaths from the flu.