By one measure at least – the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) – this flu season is now the worst in almost a decade, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the week ending Jan. 13, visits for ILI rose to 6.3% of outpatient visits nationwide – the highest figure reported since the 2009-2010 season, which hit an early peak of 7.7% in October of 2009. The slight pause that occurred in the first week of January as the rate only rose from 5.7% to 5.8% now looks more like the earlier trend from December, when the level of outpatient visits more than doubled over a 3-week period, data from the CDC FluView website show.
“The geographic spread of influenza in Puerto Rico and 49 states was reported as widespread” for the week ending Jan. 13, and 24 states had the highest level of ILI activity on the CDC’s 1-10 scale, the CDC influenza division reported Jan 19.
There were 10 flu-related pediatric deaths reported during the week, with two occurring in the week ending Jan. 13. A total of 30 deaths in children have been associated with influenza so far for the 2017-2018 season, the CDC said.