Hospitalizations, deaths from flu on the rise

As the 2010-2011 influenza season progresses, the data shows rates of influenza-related deaths, hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits beginning to rise.

Though the 2010-2011 season appears to still be gathering speed, the number of cases is down significantly from the 2009-2010 season, which was marked by the onset of influenza A (H1N1), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Atlanta reported, according to

"When we look at outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, when we look at hospitalizations, the numbers are a bit higher than what was seen in the 2008-09 flu season and about the same as 2007-08," Shikha Garg, an epidemic intelligence service officer in the CDC's Influenza Division, said, according to "Last year, influenza attack rates were very high because of the lack of population immunity, and the rate of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness were the highest seen since the CDC started influenza surveillance."

Through late February 2011, there were 8,227 influenza-related hospitalizations, according to data from the CDC. Through the same period in 2010, the CDC reported 40,618 influenza-related hospitalizations.

The number of deaths is also down dramatically, with 115 reported for this season and 1,994 at the same point in last season, reports.

This season is unlikely to match last season’s in terms of severity, but it is important to note that comparisons are difficult.

"Last year was extremely unusual in that activity peaked very early in September and October," Garg told "Because of that, it is hard to compare activity in terms of the timing. One thing about this season is that it started very, very late. Activity hasn't peaked yet this season."