Weekly Influenza News
January 27th, 2019

CDC Flu News: Week #2

2018-2019 influenza season preliminary estimates 114,000 hospitalizations

2018-2019 jump

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the weekly influenza report ending January 12, 2019. 

For Week #2, the CDC is estimating between 8,200,000 – 9,600,000 symptomatic illnesses; 3,900,000 – 4,600,000 medical visits; and 95,000 – 114,000 hospitalizations. 

This data was published on January 18, 2019, and is collected through a surveillance network that covers approximately 8.5 percent of the U.S. population (~27 million people) from October 2018 and is subject to several limitations and potential changes. 

Unfortunately, 3 additional influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported during Week #2. 

These new fatalities increase the 2018-2019 flu season total to 19. 

This compares with 185 pediatric fatalities related to influenza during the 2017-2018 flu season.   

Additionally, the CDC reported Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate through January 12, 2019: 

  • The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses in clinical laboratories decreased slightly. Influenza A viruses have predominated in the United States since the beginning of October. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have predominated in most areas of the country, however, influenza A(H3) viruses have predominated in the southeastern United States (HHS Region 4).
  • The majority of influenza viruses characterized antigenically and genetically are similar to the cell-grown reference viruses representing the 2018–2019 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine viruses.
  • None of the viruses tested were associated with highly reduced inhibition by any of the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir).
  • The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) decreased from 3.5% to 3.1%, but remains above the national baseline of 2.2%. All 10 regions reported ILI at or above their region-specific baseline level.
  • Nine states experienced high ILI activity; New York City and 13 states experienced moderate ILI activity; 10 states experienced low ILI activity; and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 18 states experienced minimal ILI activity.
  • The geographic spread of influenza in Guam and 30 states was reported as widespread; Puerto Rico and 16 states reported regional activity; three states reported local activity; and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and one state reported sporadic activity.
  • A cumulative rate of 12.4 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported. The highest hospitalization rate is among adults 65 years and older (31.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 population).
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the system-specific epidemic threshold in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System.

Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) report #332 published on January 7, 2019, showed an increase of influenza activity across most of the Northern Hemisphere, with the 2009 H1N1 strain dominating in North America and Eastern Asia. 

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Of all flu specimens tested worldwide, 93.8 percent were influenza A. Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 77 percent were 2009 H1N1 and 23 percent were H3N2.

Recent influenza news:

In the USA, antiviral medications and various flu vaccines are available in most pharmacies.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

And, flu vaccine discounts can be found here.       

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Vaccine patients are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the CDC.