According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, influenza activity remains high and widespread across the U.S. While the rate of influenza like illnesses appears to be declining, indicators that reflect severity are now rising for the week ending January 12, 2012 (week 2). Nationwide, influenza A H3N2 is the most commonly detected influenza subtype.
The CDC added that it’s typical for severity indicators to lag a few weeks behind early activity indicators. This week, a high proportion of influenza-associated hospitalizations and deaths are occurring in people 65 and older. Nine infants died as the result of influenza-associated causes this week.
Flu Mortality Rate Rises Sharply, Above Epidemic
Each week, the vital statistics offices of 122 cities across the United States report the total number of death certificates processed and the number of those for which pneumonia or influenza was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of death by age group.
The CDC says that the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System increased sharply; remaining above the epidemic threshold for the second consecutive week.
8.3% of all deaths reported through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to pneumonia and influenza in week 2. This percentage was sharply above what the CDC considers the epidemic threshold of 7.3% for that time of year.
State-by-State Flu Activity
During week 2:
- Thirty states and New York City experienced high ILI activity (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming).
- Ten states experienced moderate ILI activity (Arizona, California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).
- Seven states experienced low ILI activity (Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington).
- Three states experienced minimal ILI activity (Kentucky, Maine, and Montana).
- Data were insufficient to calculate an ILI activity level for the District of Columbia.
Flu Activity Across Florida
Because of the statewide reports of elevated and widespread influenza and influenza-like illness activity, the Florida Department of Health is reporting widespread influenza activity to the CDC for week 2. The classification of a widespread activity level refers to the geographic spread of influenza – not its severity or intensity.
Currently, influenza and influenza-like illness activity is elevated in all regions of Florida. Influenza A was the most common flu type in Florida this flu season. Of the tests that have been influenza positive in the past five weeks, most have been positive for influenza A H3; the rest have been influenza B, with the exception of five 2009 H1N1 influenza A specimens. All three of these are seasonal subtypes of influenza.
There was 11 flu outbreaks in Florida for week two which occurred in Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Monroe
and Orange counties.
The CDC reports that Central Florida, and South Florida regions are showing higher than expected influenza-like illness activity in emergency room visits. Activity declined in the Florida Panhandle.
Florida County-by-County Flu Activity
No Activity: Jefferson and Madison Counties
Mild: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Dade, Desoto, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Holmes, Lee, Liberty, Manatee, Marion, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington Counties
Moderate: Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Calhoun, Charlotte, Dixie, Duval, Gadsden, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Martin, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Taylor Counties
SOURCE and Infographs: CDC