The number of states at the highest level of flu activity jumped from 7 to 19 during the week ending Feb. 4, 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 19 states at level 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale of influenza-like illness (ILI) activity were largely concentrated in the South and lower Midwest, with another grouping mainly in the Mid-Atlantic. They were joined in the “high” range of ILI activity by four other states: Indiana and Minnesota at level 9 and New Mexico and Virginia at level 8, the CDC reported.
The proportion of outpatient visits for ILI was 4.8% for the week: That is the highest percentage since the end of 2014, when it reached 6%. The national baseline level is 2.2%, the CDC noted.
For the 2016-2017 season, 20 flu-related pediatric deaths have been reported: 5 were reported during the week ending Feb. 4, but 4 occurred during the week ending Jan. 28 and 1 occurred during the week ending Jan. 14, according to the CDC.
Since Oct. 1, 2016, there have been 6,804 laboratory-confirmed flu-related hospitalizations reported in the 13 states – including California, Georgia, New York, and Ohio – of the CDC’s Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network, for an overall hospitalization rate of 24.3 per 100,000 population. That rate, however, is “likely to be an underestimate as influenza-related hospitalizations can be missed, either because testing is not performed, or because cases may be attributed to other causes of pneumonia or other common influenza-related complications,” the CDC said.