Weekly Influenza News

CDC Flu News: Week #50

Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are predominating in most areas of the USA, with influenza A(H3) viruses commonly reported in the southeastern United States

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Influenza activity in the United States is increasing, as of December 15, 2018. 

The primary influenza viruses that are circulating are Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses. 

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications, says the CDC.   

Unfortunately, 1 influenza-associated pediatric death was reported to CDC during week 50. This death was associated with an influenza A virus for which no subtyping was performed. 

A total of 7 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported to the CDC for the 2018-2019 flu season. 

Additional information on influenza-associated pediatric deaths including basic demographics, underlying conditions, bacterial co-infections, and place of death for the current and past seasons, is available on FluView Interactive.   

Additional highlights from the Week #50 report are as follows: 

  1. Influenza A viruses have predominated in the United States since the beginning of October 2018. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are predominating in most areas of the country.
  2. However, in the most recent 3 weeks, influenza A(H3) viruses were most commonly reported in the southeastern United States (HHS Region 4).
  3. 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.
  4. All viruses tested show susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir).
  5. The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased to 2.7%, which is above the national baseline of 2.2%. Eight of 10 regions reported ILI at or above their region-specific baseline level.
  6. The geographic spread of influenza in Guam and 6 states was reported as widespread.
  7. A cumulative rate of 2.9 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported. The highest hospitalization rate is among children younger than 5 years (7.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population).
  8. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the system-specific epidemic threshold in the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System.

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Recent influenza-related 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. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the CDC.