Influenza activity increased for a second straight week after a 2-week drop and by one measure has topped the high reached in late December, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the week ending Jan. 26, 2019, there were 16 states at level 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale of influenza-like illness (ILI) activity, compared with 12 states during the week ending Dec. 29. With another seven states at levels 8 and 9, that makes 23 in the high range for the week ending Jan. 26, again putting it above the 19 reported for Dec. 29, the CDC’s influenza division reported Feb. 1.
By another measure, however, that December peak in activity remains the seasonal high. The proportion of outpatient visits for ILI that week was 4.0%, compared with the 3.8% reported for Jan. 26. That’s up from 3.3% the week before and 3.1% the week before that, which in turn was the second week of a 2-week decline in activity in early January, CDC data show.
Two flu-related pediatric deaths were reported during the week ending Jan. 26, but both occurred the previous week. For the 2018-2019 flu season so far, a total of 24 pediatric flu deaths have been reported, the CDC said. At the same point in the 2017-2018 flu season, there had been 84 such deaths, according to the CDC’s Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System.
There were 143 overall flu-related deaths during the week of Jan. 19, which is the most recent week available. That is down from 189 the week before, but the Jan. 19 reporting is only 75% complete, data from the National Center for Health Statistics show.