Flu activity continued to worsen throughout the United States in the final week of 2014.
Flu activity continued to worsen throughout the United States in the final week of 2014, according to the latest Influenza Surveillance Report from the influenza division of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Of the 24,001 specimens reported by the World Health Organization and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System, 7289 (30.4%) tested positive for influenza infection. Additionally, 6 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC during the week ending December 27, 2014, bringing the total number of associated deaths reported during the current flu season to 21.
Between October 1, 2014, and December 27, 2014, there were 12.6 laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 individuals—the highest rate of which occurred among adults aged 65 years or older. Overall, 43 states recorded “widespread” influenza activity through week 52 of 2014.
The CDC also noted that there have been high levels of resistance to amantadine and rimantadine among the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses, and the adamantane antiviral medications do not protect against influenza B viruses.
“In the United States, all recently circulating influenza viruses have been susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications, oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir,” wrote the CDC report authors. “…Antiviral treatment with oseltamivir, zanamivir, or peramivir is recommended as early as possible for patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness; who require hospitalization; or who are at high risk for serious influenza-related complications.”
Key symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose. Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease, and it can eventually lead to death in severe cases. Older adults, pregnant women, and children are highly susceptible to contracting the illness.