Influenza activity increasing across the U.S.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that influenza activity is increasing across the United States, with more states reporting widespread activity and more clinic visits due to flu-like illnesses.

The week ending on February 19 saw 44 states reporting widespread flu activity, an increase of seven states from the week before, according to CIDRAP News.

Influenza-like illnesses were responsible for 4.9 percent of sentinel medical provider visits, up from 4.5 percent the week before and above the 2.5 percent baseline.

There were also six flu-related deaths reported last week, compared to five the week before, CIDRAP News reports. Three of the cases had influenza B, one each had H3N2 and 2009 H1N1, and one was not tested for a subtype. So far, there have been a total of 41 pediatric influenza deaths this flu season.

A total of 8.3 percent of deaths reported last week, the CDC reports, were ascribed to pneumonia and influenza, which is down from 8.9 percent the week before. That number is above the epidemic threshold of eight percent for the fourth straight week, CIDRAP News reports.

According to the CDC, 31.3 percent of 9,154 respiratory specimens tested last week were positive for flu, which is slightly lower than the 35 percent from the previous week.