CDC reports ‘widespread’ influenza for entire country

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Graphic courtesy of Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Graphic courtesy of Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Flu season is now in full swing as the Centers for Disease Control is reporting several regions of the country are experiencing “widespread” influenza activity.

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“Reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths are elevated,” CDC officials said in the weekly flu briefing. “Activity is expected to continue for several weeks, especially in parts of the country that have not yet seen significant activity.”

Each week, the CDC releases a “FluView” report which documents flu cases across the nation. According to this week’s FluView report, flu activity continued to increase in the United States and is high in about half of the country, with cases across the nation now approaching the peak level seen during the 2012-2013 season.

Four influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC during the week ending December 20. Three deaths were associated with an influenza A (H3) virus and occurred between Nov. 30 and Dec. 13. One death was associated with an influenza B virus and occurred between Dec. 14-20.

“A total of 15 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2014-2015 flu season at this time,” the CDC report said.

The timing of flu activity can vary in different parts of the country and is expected to continue in the coming weeks, with increases occurring especially in those states that have not yet had significant activity. The CDC continues to recommend vaccination as long as flu viruses are circulating. If you have not been vaccinated yet this season, get vaccinated now.

The CDC is reporting cases of flu have been confirmed in 44 of Tennessee’s 95 counties – which includes Carter, Washington, Sullivan and Unicoi Counties – so far during the 2014-15 flu season.

According to the CDC report, the Northeast Region of Tennessee saw 7 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu during the week of Dec. 14-20, which was an increase from the previous week.

During the week which ended on Dec. 20, the following influenza activity was reported to the CDC:

  • Widespread influenza activity was reported by 36 states – Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  • Regional influenza activity was reported by Guam, Puerto Rico and 10 states – Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.
  • Local influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and two states – Alaska and Oregon.
  • Sporadic influenza activity was reported by two states – California and Hawaii.

Nationally, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses in the United States during the week ending December 20 increased once again to 28.1%. For the most recent three weeks, the regional percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses ranged from 11.3% to 35.9%.