The nation’s flu season has had a slow start this year, but it’s beginning to pick up, federal health officials say.
Influenza cases reported to doctors across the nation are increasing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest weekly report on flu activity.
“Nationally, influenza activity increased slightly in the United States for the week ending January 28…but still remains relatively low,” the CDC reported.
The percentage of laboratory tests confirming cases of influenza rose from 5.6 percent to 7.2 percent.
“Additional increases in activity are expected in the coming weeks,” the agency said.
Among the CDC’s specific findings on the nation’s flu season:
• Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness remained low. No states reported widespread influenza activity, regional flu outbreaks were reported by six states (an increase from four the previous week) and 13 states reported local flu activity (an increase from eight the week before).
• Thirty-one states reported only sporadic cases of flu.
• The number of patients hospitalized for influenza is lower than at this time in previous years.
• No flu-related deaths among children were reported.
Federal officials noted flu season typically peaks in January or February, but can last until May. They also said it’s not too late to get a flu shot.