Flu activity remains elevated, pediatric deaths near 100: 5 things to know

The CDC reported 13 new influenza-related pediatric deaths Friday, increasing the total number of such deaths to 97 for the 2017-18 flu season.

Here are five things to know.

1. The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 6.4 percent for the week ending Feb. 17, which sits above the national baseline of 2.2 percent, but marks a decline in flu-related illness from the week prior.

"[Influenza-like-illness] dropped from 7.4 percent last week to 6.4 percent, but remains higher than the peak of flu activity observed during many seasons," said the CDC in a summary of its most recent FluView update. "Flu activity is likely to remain elevated for several more weeks."

2. The overall hospitalization rate was 74.5 per 100,000 population for the week ending Feb. 10, marking an increase from the 67.9 per 100,000 rate reported last week. The CDC tallied 21,279 laboratory-confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations from Oct. 1, 2017, through Feb. 17, 2018.

3. Forty-eight U.S. states and Puerto Rico reported widespread flu activity for the week ending Feb. 17. Oregon, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and Guam reported regional flu activity; and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported no flu activity for the week.

4. The most frequently identified virus type in positive specimens continued to be influenza A. A majority of these cases — 86.9 percent — were attributable to the H3N2 strain, which is known to cause more severe illnesses in the elderly and young children. In total, the CDC has identified 161,129 positive influenza A and B specimens for the 2017-18 flu season.

5. Among the 97 pediatric flu deaths reported so far this flu season, 7.2 percent occurred in children under five months old, 14 percent occurred in children ages 6 to 23 months, 17.5 percent occurred in children ages 2 to 4 years, 34 percent occurred in children ages 5 to 11 years and 26.8 percent occurred in children ages 12 to 17 years.

More articles on infection control: 
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Flu vaccine during pregnancy not linked to infant hospitalizations: 5 things to know

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