ATLANTA - The most recent FluView report for the 2014-15 flu season shows that flu season in the United States has begun and about half the country is experiencing high levels of flu activity. Reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths are elevated. Activity is expected to continue for several weeks, especially in parts of the country that have not yet seen significant activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
According to this week’s FluView report, U.S. flu activity continued to increase in intensity and expand geographically in many areas of the country. For the week ending Dec. 27, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness increased to 5.9% and is above the national baseline (2%) for the sixth consecutive week. All 10 U.S. regions reported ILI activity at or above region-specific baseline levels. The length of a flu season can vary, but for the past 13 seasons ILI has remained at or above the national baseline for an average of 13 weeks.
Puerto Rico and 29 states experienced high ILI activity, an increase from 22 states during the previous week. New York City and six states (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin) experienced moderate ILI activity.
The severity of flu disease so far this season is similar to some previous seasons in which influenza A (H3N2) viruses have circulated predominantly. H3N2 seasons often cause more severe disease for young children and elderly adults, as indicated by hospitalizations and deaths, compared to H1N1 seasons.