CDC: 2017-18 flu season had 'record-breaking' hospitalization rates

U.S. influenza activity decreased for the fifth week in a row, but the CDC expects sporadic flu activity to continue for several more weeks, according to the agency's most recent FluView report.

Here are five things to know.

1. Only 1 of 10 U.S. regions reported outpatient flu activity at or above region-specific baselines for the week ending May 5. The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness remained at 1.5 percent from the week prior, which falls below the 2.2 percent national baseline.

2. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu dropped from 7.4 percent in the week ending April 28 to 6.5 percent in the week ending May 5. The agency confirmed 252 positive specimens for influenza A and 469 positive specimens for influenza B in the week ending May 5.

3. The CDC reported 30,429 laboratory-confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations from Oct. 1, 2017, through April 30, 2018. The overall flu-associated hospitalization rate was 106.5 per 100,000 population.

"Hospitalization rates this season have been record-breaking, exceeding end-of-season hospitalization rates for 2014-2015, a high severity, H3N2-predominant season," the CDC wrote in a summary of the weekly flu report.

4. The agency reported two pediatric flu deaths for the week, which brings the total count of flu-associated pediatric deaths to 165 for the 2017-18 flu season.

5. Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York reported widespread flu activity for the week ending May 5. Guam, Puerto Rico and four states reported regional flu activity; 16 states reported local flu activity; Washington, D.C., and 25 states reported sporadic activity — up 11 states from a week prior — and the U.S. Virgin Islands and two states reported no flu activity.

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