Flu season has peaked — viral activity on decline: 5 things to know

The 2017-18 influenza season peaked in early February and is now on the decline, according to a data published by the CDC March 3.

Here are five things to know.

1. The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 5.0 percent for the week ending Feb. 24, marking a 1.4 percent decline from the week prior. Despite the decrease, flu activity is expected to continue for weeks.

"We have definitely peaked," said Kristen Nordlund, CDC spokesperson, according to CNN. "[However] that doesn't mean we aren't going to see more flu activity."

2. The number of states reporting widespread flu activity for the week ending Feb. 24 declined by three. Forty-five states and Puerto Rico reported widespread flu activity for the week. Minnesota, Texas and Guam reported regional flu activity; Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, D.C., reported local flu activity; and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported no flu activity for the week.

3. The overall hospitalization rate was 81.7 per 100,000 population for the week ending Feb. 24. The CDC tallied 23,324 laboratory-confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations from Oct. 1, 2017, through Feb. 24, 2018.

4. The most frequently identified virus type in positive specimens this flu season has been influenza A. The majority of these cases — 86.6 percent — have been attributable to the H3N2 strain, which is known to cause more severe illnesses in the elderly and young children. However, while influenza A has been more dominate this season overall, the number of influenza A and B cases identified the week ending Feb. 24 were nearly even.

"While H3N2 viruses remain predominant overall this season, the proportion of B viruses versus A viruses is now almost even," said the CDC in a summary of the new data. "In recent weeks, B viruses have been increasing while H3N2 viruses have been decreasing."

5. The CDC increased its count of pediatric flu deaths for the 2017-18 flu season by 17, bringing its total to 114. The number surpasses the 110 pediatric flu deaths reported for the 2016-17 flu season.

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