Study Highlights Flu Transmission Rates on Airplanes

Airline passengers can catch the flu from contaminated surfaces such as tray tables, seat belts, and lavatory handles.

This flu season in the United States peaked in early February during week 5, according to a new flu situation update released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Despite steady declines in flu season indicators around the country since then, influenza activity remained high during week 10 ending March 10, 2018. Puerto Rico and 26 states continue to report widespread flu, according to the most recent FluView report, and hospitalization rates rose slightly from 86.3 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population during the previous week to a cumulative rate of 89.9 per 100,000. For Americans aged 65 and over, the hospitalization rate rose from 370.6 per 100,000 during week 9 to 386.2 per 100,000.

Although the CDC has reported that the proportion of influenza A and B viruses are nearly equal, influenza A viruses continue to cause the majority of hospitalizations. During week 10, 79% of hospitalizations were associated with influenza A viruses, and H3N2 was identified in more than 85% of hospitalized patients.

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