CDC’s FluView Estimates Early Increases of Influenza Activity for 2022-2023 Season

Agency expects the highest level of activity in the south-central and Southeast areas of the United States.

Influenza activity is relatively low, but there are early increases happening in most parts of the United States, according to the first full FluView report by the CDC for the 2022-2023 influenza season.1

The highest level of activity was reported in the south-central and Southeast areas of the United States.1

The increased activity could indicate an early start to the influenza season, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends that individuals aged 6 months and older get vaccinated by early November, but immunization should continue as long as the viruses continue to circulate.2

Influenza activity typically peaks between December and February.

However, activity can last until as late as May, according to the CDC.2

As of October 22, 2022, laboratory specimens that tested positive for influenza had reached 6.2%, an increase from 4.2% on October 2, 2022. The most common type has been influenza A, with 98.4% of specimens being reported and just 1.6% being influenza B.1

Specifically, H3N2 has been the most prominent influenza A strain, with 74.6% of all influenza A being reported as this strain. Additionally, 25.4% of specimens have been reported as (H1N1)pdm09.1

The CDC also reported that approximately 3.3% of outpatient patients reported respiratory illnesses with influenza-like symptoms, including a fever with a cough and/or a sore throat.

The agency reported that this is above the national baseline of 2.5%.1

The level of influenza-like illnesses is at a high level for the time of year, and it is the first time that they have been above baseline during this time since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to the CDC.2

For severe disease, the CDC reported that the cumulative hospitalization rate per 100,000 individuals was 1.5, which is higher than the cumulative in-season hospitalization rate during the same week a year earlier, which typically ranged from 0 to 0.3.1

During the week of October 28, 2022, 2332 individuals were admitted to hospitals with influenza infections. Additionally, ending on October 22, 2022, 9.2% of deaths that occurred were because of COVID-19 influenza, and to pneumonia. That was above the epidemic threshold of 5.9% for the specific week.1

Among the individuals, 949 had COVID-19 listed as a contributing or underlying cause of death, and 15 were listed as influenza.1

Additionally, there was just 1 pediatric, influenza-related death the week of October 28, 2022, according to the CDC.1

The CDC recommends that individuals aged 6 months and older get an influenza vaccination, because it is the best way to prevent not only infection but serious outcomes for individuals who still get the disease.

Prescription influenza antiviral drugs can be used to treat the infection, but it should be started as early as possible for best results, according to the CDC.1

So far, in total, there have been at least 880,000 influenza illnesses, 6900 hospitalizations, and 360 deaths reported to the CDC this season.1

Reference

1. Weekly US influenza surveillance report. CDC. Updated October 28, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

2. CDC reports early increases in seasonal flu activity. News release. CDC. October 13, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/2022-2023/early-flu-activity.htm?web=1&wdLOR=c44FBB319-375A-E84B-9236-BFB001F8CF7F