It’s been a decade since flu activity levels were this high this early in the season.
For the week ending Nov. 30, outpatient visits for influenza-like illness reached 3.5% of all visits to health care providers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Dec. 6. That is the highest pre-December rate since the pandemic of 2009-2010, when the rate peaked at 7.7% in mid-October, CDC data show.
For the last week of November, eight states and Puerto Rico reported activity levels at the high point of the CDC’s 1-10 scale, which is at least five more states than any of the past five flu seasons. Three of the last five seasons had no states at level 10 this early in the season.
Another 4 states at levels 8 and 9 put a total of 13 jurisdictions in the “high” range of flu activity, with another 14 states in the “moderate” range of levels 6 and 7. Geographically speaking, 24 jurisdictions are experiencing regional or widespread activity, which is up from the 15 reported last week, the CDC’s influenza division said.
The hospitalization rate to date for the 2019-2020 season – 2.7 per 100,000 population – is “similar to what has been seen at this time during other recent seasons,” the CDC said.
One influenza-related pediatric death was reported during the week ending Nov. 30, which brings the total for the season to six, according to the CDC report.