The 2017-2018 flu season continued to loosen its grip on the country as both outpatient activity and pediatric deaths dropped during the week ending March 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After five consecutive weeks of double-digit pediatric deaths related to influenza-like illness (ILI), five deaths were reported for the week ending March 3, four of which occurred in previous weeks. The total for the 2017-2018 season is now 119, the CDC said in its weekly surveillance report.

The proportion of outpatient visits for ILI was 3.7% for the week, which is down from 4.9% the week before and less than half of the seasonal high of 7.5% that was recorded for the week of Feb. 3, CDC data show. The national baseline level of outpatient activity is 2.2%.

This week’s map shows that 15 states were at level 10 of the CDC’s 1-10 scale of ILI activity for the week ending March 3, compared with 25 the week before. There were another six states at levels 8 and 9 for this week, putting a total of 21 states in the “high” range, according to the CDC’s FluView website.

The cumulative hospitalization rate for the 2017-2018 flu season climbed from 84.2 the previous week to 86.3 per 100,000 population – well above the rate of 57.2 per 100,000 that was recorded for the corresponding week of the hospitalization-record-setting 2014-2015 season, FluView data show.


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