News from the FDA/CDC

Flu increases activity but not its severity


Influenza activity continues to increase, but it has slowed down a bit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza-like illness activity level, week ending Feb. 8, 2020

The CDC’s latest report shows that 6.8% of outpatients visiting health care providers had influenza-like illness during the week ending Feb. 8. That’s up from the previous week’s 6.6%, but that rise of 0.2 percentage points is smaller than the 0.6-point rises that occurred each of the 2 weeks before, and that could mean that activity is slowing.

That slowing, however, is not noticeable from this week’s map, which puts 41 states (there were 35 last week) and Puerto Rico in the red at the highest level of activity on the CDC’s 1-10 scale and another three states in the “high” range with levels of 8 or 9, the CDC’s influenza division reported.

That leaves Nevada and Oregon at level 7; Alaska, Florida, and the District of Columbia at level 5; Idaho at level 3, and Delaware with insufficient data (it was at level 5 last week), the CDC said.

The 2019-2020 season’s high activity, fortunately, has not translated into high severity, as overall hospitalization and mortality rates continue to remain at fairly typical levels. Hospitalization rates are elevated among children and young adults, however, and pediatric deaths are now up to 92, the CDC said, which is high for this point in the season.

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