Weekly Influenza News

CDC Flu News: Week #3

Influenza-related pediatric deaths now total 22 for the 2018/19 flu season

2018 2019 year change

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued weekly influenza reports as of January 23, 2019. 

As of Week #3 ending January 19, 2019, the CDC is estimating the impact of the 2018/19 flu season as follows:

  • 9,800,000 – 11,400,000 symptomatic illnesses,
  • 4,600,000 – 5,400,000 medical visits; and,
  • 113,000 – 136,000 hospitalizations.

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

These new fatalities increase the 2018-2019 flu season total to 22. 

The CDC says influenza activity increased in the United States last week. Specifically, influenza A(H1N1), influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate. 

Below is a summary of the key influenza indicators for the week ending January 19, 2019:

  • The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses in clinical laboratories increased. Influenza A viruses have predominated in the United States since the beginning of October. Influenza A(H1N1) 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.
  • The vast majority of influenza viruses tested (>99%) show susceptibility to oseltamivir and peramivir. All influenza viruses tested showed susceptibility to zanamivir.
  • The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased to 3.3%, which is above the national baseline of 2.2%. All 10 regions reported ILI at or above their region-specific baseline level.
  • New York City and 18 states experienced high ILI activity; 10 states experienced moderate ILI activity; the District of Columbia and eight states experienced low ILI activity; 14 states experienced minimal ILI activity, and Puerto Rico had insufficient data.
  • The geographic spread of influenza in 36 states was reported as widespread; Puerto Rico and 11 states reported regional activity; three states reported local activity; the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported sporadic activity, and Guam did not report.
  • A cumulative rate of 14.8 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported.  The highest hospitalization rate is among adults 65 years and older (38.3 hospitalizations per 100,000 population).
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was above the system-specific epidemic threshold in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System.

Separately, the WHO report #333 published on January 21, 2019, showed the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere influenza activity continued to increase slowly and seasonal influenza A viruses accounted for the majority of detections worldwide.

  • In North America, influenza activity remained elevated overall with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 predominating.
  • In Europe, influenza activity continued to increase, with both A viruses circulating.
  • In North Africa, influenza A(H3N2) detections continued to be reported in Egypt.
  • In Western Asia, influenza activity continued to increase in some countries and appeared to decrease across countries of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • In East Asia, influenza activity continued to increase, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 most frequently detected.
  • In Southern Asia, influenza detections remained elevated overall, with influenza A(H3N2) the predominant circulating virus.
  • In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity returned to inter-seasonal levels with exception of some parts in Australia.

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