CDC Update on Influenza Activity in the United States

January 4th 2017

Flu activity is on the rise.

Influenza (flu) activity remained low in October 2016 but has been slowly increasing since November in the United States, an updated CDCreportfound.

According to the flu activity report, influenza A (H3N2) viruses were more frequently identified in the United States than were other flu viruses. However, influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 and influenza B viruses were also reported.

So far this season, the percentage of deaths attributable to thefluand pneumonia have remained below the epidemic threshold. Furthermore, no flu-associated pediatric deaths have been reported as of December 17, 2016.

All 205 of the flu viruses tested thus far were found to be sensitive to all 3 antiviral drugs oseltamivir, peramivir, and zanamivir.

Between October 2, 2016, and December 17, 2016, the weekly percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) ranged from 1.2% to 2.3%. The week ending December 17, 2016, was the first week of this season in which the percentage of outpatient visits for ILI was near the national baseline.

During this time period, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico experienced high ILI activity, whereas Arizona, Georgia, and New York City experienced moderate ILI activity.

For the geographic spread of flu viruses, Puerto Rico reported widespread activity for the week ending December 17, 2016. Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and 13 states reported regional flu activity.

In the United States, peak flu activity most commonly occurs from December through March, but substantial flu activity can occur as early as November and last until May, according to the CDC.

The most effective way to prevent and reduce the impact of flu is to receive annual flu shots. According to the CDC, health care providers should continue to recommend the flu vaccination to all unvaccinated individuals older than 6 months, now and throughout the flu season.

Flu antiviral medications are recommended as an adjunct to the vaccine in patients with confirmed or suspected flu who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness; who require hospitalization; or who are at high risk for flu-related complications.

Antivirals can reduce severity and duration of illness, as well as reduce severe outcomes of flu, according to the CDC.

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