At least 2,900 Americans have passed away from influenza since October, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Seasonal influenza activity is elevated across the country,” an update from the week ending November 19 that was released on Monday said.
The CDC estimates “at least 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths from flu.” The statistics include 12 children who have died this flu season.
CDC’s latest preliminary, in-season flu burden estimates suggest flu has caused at least 6.2 million illnesses, 3 million medical visits, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths so far this season. There’s still time to get a #fluvax. Full report here: https://t.co/bR1HB5pgLZ pic.twitter.com/N7fDX9tQvz
— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) November 29, 2022
Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee are the states reporting the highest number of cases, according to data from the CDC. A total of 35 states are considered high or very high risk for influenza-like illness in the CDC’s latest update.
Just four states, Alaska, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Vermont, fall within minimal activity levels.
Influenza-like illness, defined medical visits for fever and cough or sore throat, is high or very high in 35 states, according to CDC’s #FluView report. #Flu is a significant contributor to respiratory illness, but other viruses are spreading too. More: https://t.co/d7ZpbN4Iaw pic.twitter.com/09f7LCVrIA
— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) November 28, 2022
The flu season runs from October until May, with its peak in January or February. However, the respiratory illness began spreading earlier this year, resulting in increased hospitalizations about six weeks ahead of the traditional flu period.
The agency recommends an annual flu vaccine. People six months and older are eligible.
Those who catch the virus are encouraged to take prescription flu antiviral drugs. The flu is considered more dangerous for individuals 65 years old or older, pregnant women, or those with other health risks.
The start of the holiday season could lead to influenza numbers increasing even more as Americans travel and join family gatherings.
The high level of influenza spread is a substantial increase following two years of a pandemic that has seen the CDC focus its efforts on COVID. The data revealed in the latest update shows concerns regarding COVID, influenza, and pneumonia.
A related global influenza update from the World Health Organization (WHO) was released on November 14 based on data through October 30.
“In Europe, overall influenza activity followed an increasing trend but remained relatively low. Influenza A viruses predominated among the reported detections in general with A(H3N2) viruses accounting for the majority of subtyped influenza A viruses,” the WHO reported.
“In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, overall influenza activity appeared to decrease this reporting period, except in temperate South America where activity increased in several countries,” it added.