CDC Provides First In-Season Estimates of Flu Illnesses

PUBLISHED: Jan 15, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published their first estimates for the 2018-2019 flu season. According to the CDC, so far this season, approximately 6 million to 7 million people have been sick with flu, up to half of those people have sought medical care for their illness, and between 69,000 and 84,000 people have been hospitalized from flu. The CDC expects flu activity to continue for weeks and continues to recommend flu vaccination and appropriate use of antiviral medications.

H1N1 viruses have predominated nationally, however in the southeast, H3N2 viruses have been most commonly reported. The number of states reporting widespread activity increased this week to 30 from 24 states last week. While levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI) declined slightly over the previous week in this week’s report, ILI remains elevated and 15 states and New York City continue to experience high flu activity. There also was a decline in the percent of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu at clinical laboratories however this number remains elevated also. During some previous seasons, drops in ILI and the percent of specimens testing positive for flu have been observed following the holidays.

Included with today’s notice are example policies related to seasonal influenza, influenza vaccination and influenza prevention strategies for healthcare settings.

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