Seasonal influenza activity is increasing across the nation, and most states are reporting widespread incidences of the disease, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control. The CDC expects such activity to remain elevated for a number of weeks to come.
The report on data for the week ending Jan. 19 found the proportion of the population seeing a doctor to help treat influenza-like illnesses increased to 3.3 percent, up from 3.1 percent the week before.
Widespread influenza activity was reported by 36 states - Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming. Regional activity was reported by Puerto Rico and 11 states (Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin). Local flu activity was reported by Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia, while sporadic activity was reported by the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The CDC said that since Oct. 1, 2018, 4,262 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported through the Influenza Hospitalization Network, which represents approximately 9 percent of the U.S. This translates to a cumulative overall rate of 14.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the United States.
The highest hospitalization rate is among adults aged 65 years and older (38.3 per 100,000) followed by children younger than 5 years (26.5 per 100,000) and adults aged 50-64 years (19.8 per 100,000).
Tests have shown the most commonly identified flu viruses nationally are in the category of H1N1. The CDC urges those who haven't yet done so to get their annual flu vaccine. Find more information here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm