Flu activity decreasing, but virus still widespread in 17 states: 5 things to know

U.S. flu activity decreased for the fourth week in a row, according to the CDC's most recent FluView report for the week ending March 17.

Here are five things to know.

1. The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 2.7 percent for the week ending March 17, marking a 1 percent decline from the week prior. This figure still sits above the 2.2 percent national baseline.

2. The overall flu-associated hospitalization rate was 93.5 per 100,000 population for the week ending March 17, a 7.2 percent increase from the previous week. The CDC tallied 26,694 laboratory-confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations from Oct. 1, 2017, through March 17, 2018.

3. The most frequently identified virus type in positive specimens this flu season has been influenza A, primarily driven by the H3N2 strain. However, influenza B cases were reported more frequently than influenza A cases for the week ending March 17. The agency confirmed 2,498 positive specimens for influenza B for the week, compared to just 1,828 positive specimens for influenza A.

4. The CDC confirmed five additional pediatric flu deaths in the week ending March 17, bringing the total amount of flu-associated pediatric deaths to 133 for the 2017-18 flu season.

5. Seventeen states reported widespread flu activity for the week. Twenty six states, Puerto Rico and Guam reported regional flu activity; five states and Washington, D.C., reported local flu activity; and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Vermont reported sporadic flu activity for the week.

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