News from the FDA/CDC

2018-2019 flu season starts in earnest


National flu activity moved solidly into above-average territory during the week ending Dec. 15, as Colorado and Georgia took the lead with the highest activity levels in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza-like illness activity level, week ending Dec. 15, 2018

The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 2.7% for the week, which was up from 2.3% the previous week and above the national baseline of 2.2%, the CDC reported. ILI is defined “as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and cough and/or sore throat.”

Colorado and Georgia both reported ILI activity of 10 on the CDC’s 1-10 scale, making them the only states in the “high” range (8-10). Nine states and New York City had activity levels in the “moderate” range (6-7), Puerto Rico and 11 states were in the “low” range (4-5), and 28 states and the District of Columbia were in the “minimal” range (1-3), the CDC said.

During the comparable period of last year’s high-severity flu season, which ultimately resulted in 900,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 80,000 deaths (185 pediatric), nine states were already at level 10. For the 2018-2019 season so far, there have been seven ILI-related pediatric deaths, CDC data show.

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