NEW YORK Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig last week noted that drug stores and cold medicine distributors may be looking toward rosy sales after Valentines Day given the higher incidence of colds and flu of late. “Week 19 of the flu season (week ending Feb. 2) was the first time since February 2005 when more than 30 states experienced widespread flu outbreaks,” she wrote. “We believe that the recent surge in flu activity is a significant positive for both Rx and front-end comps in February. “
Nationwide, during week 19 of the flu season, 5.1 percent of patient visits reported through the U.S.
Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network were due to influenza-like illness. And 3.2 percent of patient visits to Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Department of Defense outpatient treatment facilities were for acute respiratory illness. The percentage of visits for ILI was above the national baseline of 2.2 percent, and the percentage of visits for ARI was at the national baseline of 3.2 percent.