The flu bug has officially spread across the state of Iowa. In the past, CDC provided these estimates at the end of each flu season. By contrast, year-ago data showed pneumonia and influenza mortality was 7.0% - already hitting the system-specific epidemic threshold.
One Oklahoma County resident and 12 others around the state have died of flu so far this season, according to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. The CDC says between 69,000 and 84,000 people have been hospitalized due to the flu, and the overall hospitalization rate is about 9 per 100,000 cases.
Percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses declined from 4.0% the previous week to 3.5%, which remained above the national baseline of 2.2%.
Health regulators have been trying to combat flu outbreaks in the United States and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first new flu medication in almost two decades past year.
"This is the first year that we're actually reporting these numbers during the season and going forward, we're going to report them every week", said Dr. Alicia Fry, of the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.
On Friday, the CDC released its regular weekly flu update, showing that it was reported to be widespread in 30 states last week, up from 24 the week before.
"If people have not yet had the vaccine, it's not unusual that around this time, after the holidays, we might have a little bit more influenza activity", Murti said.
While states such as California and North Carolina have seen significant numbers of flu-related deaths this season, US health officials said Friday that the nationwide impact of influenza seems to be milder than last winter.
"It's still not too late to get a flu vaccine".
Antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time someone is sick by a day or two, clinicians say.