Vaccines, vigilance making for a moderate flu season

While the U.S. influenza activity remains elevated, the 2016-17 flu season appears to have peaked. Fewer cases were reported nationwide during the first week of March than in the previous two weeks, but flu-like activity is still showing vigor in the Southeast and South regions.

Several states are still above the national baseline for flu-related outpatient visits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes in its weekly surveillance report. The most common flu type by far this year has been the Influenza A (H3) virus. No influenza virus type has shown unusual resistance or rogue characteristics this season.

As in previous years, senior over age 65 represent the most hospitalizations by age group—more than four times higher than any younger age bracket. Reported deaths (all ages) due to pneumonia and influenza are lower than in the past five years during the same month, yet are still above the national epidemic threshold.

Which states have the best rates?

During last year’s flu season, Maryland, Iowa Connecticut, Rhode Island and South Dakota had the highest vaccination rates—more than 51 percent of their state populations.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine, the CDC adds. This year, the CDC recommends the use of injectable vaccines only, putting the nasal spray version on hold amid questions about its effectiveness. Several versions of the flu shot are available, including two versions designed specifically for older people.

For more information and resources, visit the CDC's Flu Site.

Image Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Topics: Clinical , Infection control