Influenza activity in the US decreased during the week of January 5-11 but remains elevated, with an estimated 13-18 million cases of influenza-like-illness documented since the start of the season, the CDC reports.
The agency also estimates between 6,600 and 17,000 deaths related to influenza since October 1, 2019.
Key points from the CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance report include:
- Outpatient ILI and laboratory data remain elevated but declined slightly this week. While the overall percent of specimens positive for influenza declined nationally, the percent positive for influenza A viruses increased and some regions are seeing increases in the proportion of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses compared to other influenza viruses. It is too early to know whether the season has peaked or if flu activity will increase again.
- Levels of outpatient ILI remain elevated; however, hospitalization rates remain similar to what has been seen at this time during recent seasons and mortality, while increasing, has not yet exceeded the epidemic threshold.
- CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 13 million flu illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations and 6,600 deaths from flu.
- Flu vaccine effectiveness estimates are not available yet this season, but vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.
- Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the four FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the US this season.