News from the FDA/CDC

Influenza activity continues to increase


The 2018-2019 flu season is showing no signs of decline as activity measures continued to increase into mid-February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza-like illness activity level, week ending Feb. 16, 2019

Eight of the last 10 flu seasons had already reached their peak before mid-February, but another rise brought the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) to 5.1% for the week ending Feb. 16, compared with 4.8% the week before, the CDC’s influenza division reported Feb. 22. ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and cough and/or sore throat.

The week also brought more ILI to more states, as the number reporting an activity level of 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale rose from 21 to 24 and the number in the high range of 8-10 increased from 26 to 30. Another seven states – including California, which was at level 5 the previous week – and the District of Columbia were at level 7 for the current reporting week, the CDC said.

Two flu-related pediatric deaths occurred during the week ending Feb. 16 and another five were reported from previous weeks, which brings the total to 41 for the 2018-2019 season. Data for influenza deaths at all ages, which are reported a week later, show that 205 occurred in the week ending Feb. 9, with reporting 75% complete. There were 236 total deaths for the week ending Feb. 2 (94% reporting) and 218 deaths during the week ending Jan. 26 (99% reporting), the CDC said.

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