U.S. influenza activity continues to fade

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity in the United States continued to fade last week, though lingering signs of the disease include reports of four more flu-related deaths in children.

Most indicators of the flu in the United States were down, CIDRAP News reports. The proportion of outpatient medical visits that were attributed to flu-like illness was down from 1.4 percent to 1.3 percent, while ILI activity was low in all 50 states. Only 6.8 percent of respiratory specimens tested positive for flu compared with 9.1 percent the previous week.

No states reported geographically widespread flu activity, down from two states the week before. Twenty states had some local flu activity and the rest reported sporadic cases or none.

The four flu-related pediatric deaths have raised the season’s total to 95, CIDRAP News reports. Three of the deaths were related to influenza B infections and one to 2009 H1N1. The proportion of deaths caused by flu and pneumonia last week was at the epidemic threshold of 7.8 percent, down from 8.0 percent the week before. Last week marked twelve consecutive weeks that the indicator of flu-related deaths was at or above the threshold for an epidemic.

The World Health Organization has also reported that the flu was generally low and decreasing worldwide, with a few patches of activity in the tropics. The drop of cases in the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere indicates that the season is ending.