The 2015-2016 U.S. flu season may have reached its peak. The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) dropped to 3.2% for the week ending March 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The drop came after 9 consecutive weeks without a decrease, as the proportion of outpatient visits for ILI topped out at 3.7%, the CDC reported. The national baseline is 2.1%.
For the week ending March 19, three states – Kentucky, New Jersey, and New Mexico – were at level 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale of ILI activity, compared with seven the week before. Other states in the “high” range for the week were North Carolina at level 9 and Alabama, New York, and Virginia at level 8, according to data from the CDC’s Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet).
The CDC also reported a cumulative rate of 18.2 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population for the 2015-2016 flu season.
Two flu-related pediatric deaths were reported during the most recent week, one of which occurred during the week ending March 5. That brings the total to 30 reported for the 2015-2016 season. For the three previous flu seasons, the pediatric death totals were 148 (2014-2015), 111 (2013-2014), and 171 (2012-2013), according to the CDC report.