Flu increasing across most of US — 10 CDC notes

Flu activity is increasing across most of the U.S., with the highest flu test positivity levels reported in Central and South-Central states, according to the CDC's FluView report published March 11.

Ten CDC updates:

1. For the week ending March 5, 1,772 lab-confirmed flu patients were hospitalized, up from the week before. The cumulative hospitalization rate was 5.5 per 100,000 population, up from 5.2 per 100,000 the prior week. The number of flu-related hospital admissions reported to HHS has increased for the past five weeks in a row.

2. The cumulative flu hospitalization rate reported is higher than the rate for the entire 2020-21 season, but lower than the rate seen at this time during the four seasons preceding the pandemic.

3. No states reported very high flu activity, though Oklahoma reported high activity. Kansas and Idaho reported moderate activity, while Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Texas and Utah reported low activity. The remaining states reported minimal flu activity, while Washington, D.C., reported insufficient data. 

4. Two new flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported, bringing the pediatric flu deaths total to 10 for the 2021-22 season.

5. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for respiratory illness was 1.6 percent for the week ending March 5, slightly higher than the previous week, but below the national baseline of 2.5 percent. 

6. Of all specimens tested in a clinical lab, 5.8 percent were positive for the flu for the week ending March 5, up from 4.1 percent the previous week.  

7. Nationwide, 0.5 percent of long-term care facilities reported more than one flu-positive test among residents for the week, the same as the week before.

8. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 13.1 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. Among the 2,448 deaths reported for the week, 1,675 had COVID-19 and 12 had flu listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death.

9. This season's flu vaccine is only 16 percent effective at preventing infection, according to new estimates from the CDC.

10. The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 2.7 million flu illnesses, 26,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 related deaths.

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