Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an abbreviated version of its flu surveillance report, FluView, which provides a snapshot of flu activity for the most recent week that data is availabe (Oct 6-12, 2013). The report shows that influenza activity is still low overall in the United States at this time. One exception is in the Southeast region of the country, where one of several key indicators CDC monitors is elevated. The percent of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza is higher in the Souttheast than in the rest of the country. Flu activity often begins to increase during October, so this elevated indicator is not unusual for this time of year.
Of 3,534 specimens tested and reported by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories during week 41, 166 (4.7 percent) were positive for influenza.
One human infection with a novel influenza A virus was reported.
The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the epidemic threshold.
No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported.
The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 1.1 percent, below the national baseline of 2.0 percent. All 10 regions reported ILI below region-specific baseline levels. Two states experienced low ILI activity, 48 states and New York City experienced minimal ILI activity and the District of Columbia had insufficient data.
Increases in influenza activity across the United States are expected in the coming weeks. Yearly vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Full FluView reports will be issued by the CDC every Friday starting Oct. 25, 2013.