CDC issues new influenza reports

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly statistics on seasonal influenza show widespread flu activity in 47 states.

Regional influenza activity was reported in California and Mississippi. The District of Columbia reported local activity and Hawaii reported only sporadic activity. The CDC announced that influenza activity remains elevated in the United States, but there is some evidence it may be decreasing in some areas.

There was one influenza-related pediatric death reported by the CDC in the first week of 2013. The death was associated with an influenza A virus with no known subtype. There have been 20 pediatric deaths reported during the 2012-2013 influenza season. The overall proportion of deaths attributed to influenza and influenza-related pneumonia was just over the CDC's epidemic threshold.

The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report recently issued early estimates of the seasonal vaccine's effectiveness in the United States. The agency recommends everyone above the age of six months get the seasonal vaccine. The official early estimated effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection was approximately 62 percent, although final estimates are expected to differ slightly.

The CDC said the early estimates underscore that some of those vaccinated will become infected with influenza. Therefore, antiviral medication is recommended regardless of vaccination status.

"In addition, these results highlight the importance of continued efforts to develop more effective vaccines," the MMWR said.