Influenza season may not have peaked, new wave of severe infections

CDC reported Friday that influenza activity remains elevated throughout the United States, and some states are experiencing a second wave of severe infections.

CDC reported Friday that influenza activity remains elevated throughout the United States, and some states are experiencing a second wave of severe infections. In its weekly FluView report, CDC said there were up to 26.3 million influenza cases, 12.4 million medical visits, and 347,000 influenza-related hospitalizations between October 1 and March 2. During the week ending March 2, nine more children died of influenza-related causes, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 64 for the season. For adults, the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza during the week ending February 23 was 7.5%, slightly above the usual threshold of 7.3% for this time of year. It is not yet clear whether the season has peaked. CDC recorded about 37 hospitalizations per 100,000 for the week ending March 2, with higher rates among older adults, children up to age 4 years, and individuals aged 50-64 years. The dominant influenza strain this season has been H1N1, but H3 viruses have been circulating in the Southeast. According to William Schaffner, MD, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, it has been a "double-barreled influenza outbreak this year," with H1N1 seen throughout most of the country and two waves of H3N2 infections in the southeastern United States.