The nation’s slow-starting flu season is finally kicking into gear, federal health officials say.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on flu activity, the number of confirmed cases of influenza rose during the first week of February – with 10.5 percent testing positive, versus 7.6 percent the week before.
“Influenza activity is increasing in the United States,” the CDC said. “This is the first time this season that the percent of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza has surpassed 10 percent; which is generally a marker to indicate that flu season is beginning.”
CDC officials also reported California is the first state to report widespread influenza activity and a second pediatric death was reported for the season. Among the CDC report’s findings:
• Patient visits to doctors for treatment of flu-like symptoms remain low, but are rising nationally.
• Regional influenza activity was reported by nine states (an increase from 6 states the week before). Twelve states reported local influenza activity (a decrease from 13 states). Twenty-seven states (a decrease from 31 states), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported sporadic influenza activity.
• Hospitalization rates for patients with confirmed cases of influenza are lower than the rates reported at this time during previous influenza seasons.