The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared in the latest FluView report that while flu activity remains high across the United States, it is decreasing in some parts of the country, particularly in the East. Hospitalizations and deaths, key indicators reflecting severity, remain significantly high again for the week of Jan. 20-26, with the greatest impact occurring among people 65 and older.
States reporting high levels of flu activity during week 4 ending Jan. 26 include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
States experiencing moderate levels of flu activity include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
States with low levels of flu activity include Kentucky, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; while Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee reported minimal activity.
During the week of Jan. 20-26, eight influenza-related pediatric deaths have been reported — the majority of those deaths were associated with influenza H3N2 viruses. Of the 2,701 influenza-positive tests reported to CDC, 2,141 were influenza H3N2 and only 560 were influenza B viruses.
The CDC report also mentioned that a total of 45 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have already been reported during the 2012-2013 season from the following states: Arkansas (1), Arizona (1), Colorado (5), Florida (5), Hawaii (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Maine (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (4), New York (4), Ohio (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (9), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1).
Health officials are encouraging people — particularly the elderly, young children and those with certain health conditions — to get a flu shot and observe proper hygiene, such as frequent washing of hands and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu, to avoid contacting flu viruses.