Although flu activity has decreased for the second week in a row, it has remained at a high across the United States for the month of February, according to the CDC’s most recent FluView report.

In the report, visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness decreased from 6.1% last week to 5.5% this week, while all regions remain above their baselines. In addition, the percentage of specimens testing positive for both influenza A and influenza B viruses decreased.

The overall hospitalization rate was 52.7 per 100,000 population, which is similar to what has been seen during recent previous influenza seasons at this time of the year. However, rates in school aged children and young adults are higher than this time in past seasons. Children aged 0 to 4 years are now the highest CDC has on record at this point in the season, surpassing the rates reported during the second wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Pneumonia and influenza mortality have been low, but 125 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this flu season. This number is higher for the same time period than in every season since FluView reporting began in 2004.

Almost all of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the 4 FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the United States this season.

The CDC estimates that so far, this season has seen 32 million flu illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations, and 18,000 deaths related to influenza, overall. The overall rates of hospitalization and death, severity indicators, are considered moderate to low.


REFERENCE

2019-2020 Influenza Season Week 8 ending February 22, 2020. Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report. CDC’s website. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm. Accessed February 28, 2020.