4,300 flu patients hospitalized last week: 7 FluView notes

Flu activity is ramping up across the U.S., with 4,326 lab-confirmed flu patients admitted to hospitals for the week ending Oct. 29, according to the CDC's latest FluView report

The agency's report for the week prior showed more than 2,300 flu patients were hospitalized, though the figure may have been higher since data in the reports are preliminary and may change as more reports are received. 

At the same time, flu vaccination coverage among adults is lower than usual, CDC officials said during a Nov. 4 call. About 5 million more adults were vaccinated by this point last fall, data from insurance claims suggests. Among children, vaccination coverage is about the same as last year, which is still about 6 percent lower than rates before the pandemic. 

Overall, about 137 million doses of the flu shot had been administered in the U.S. as of Oct. 22, the latest date for which data are available. 

Six more notes: 

1. Nine states (Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland), New York City and Washington, D.C., reported very high flu activity for the week ending Oct. 29. Eight states (New Mexico, Louisiana, New Jersey, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida, West Virginia and Connecicut) reported high activity. California, Colorado, Nebraska and Ohio reported moderate activity. The remaining states reported low or minimal activity. 

2. Two flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending Oct. 29. One death occurred during the 2021-22 flu season, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths last season to 44. There have now been two influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2022-23 season.  

3. Clinical laboratories tested 83,742 specimens for influenza for the week ending Oct. 29. Of those, 9 percent were positive, most of which for influenza A. The positivity rate was 6.2 percent the previous week. 

4. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for influenza-like illness — meaning fever plus cough or sore throat, not lab-confirmed flu — was 4.3 percent for the week ending Oct. 29. This is above the national baseline of 2.5 percent. 

5. Nationwide, 0.8 percent of 14,221 long-term care facilities reported at least one flu-positive test among residents for the week ending Oct. 29.

6. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 9.1 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 6 percent for the week. Among the 2,153 deaths reported for the week, 988 had COVID-19 and 29 had the flu listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death. This indicates the current death rate for pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19 is primarily due to COVID-19, the CDC said.

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