The 2012-2013 influenza season continues to wind down, based upon the data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that was released on March 1. The data for the week ending Feb. 23 showed declines in most national indicators though several states are still in the midst of the influenza epidemic. Low or minimal influenza-like illness (ILI) activity is reported from 38 states and just 12 states reported that flu was widespread in the state.
The death toll nationally from this influenza season continues to grow. The CDC reports 81 pediatric flu deaths since the season began Oct. 1. Review of all state health department websites brings that total to 89. Reports on adult influenza deaths are available from 34 states and the current death toll in patients over age 18 is 990.
The CDC's 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System reports that 8.4 percent of all deaths in those cities were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) during the week. That death rate remains above the epidemic level for the week of 7.5 percent. For the period Jan. 1 to Feb. 23, these cities reported 8,995 P&I deaths and a total of 102,693 deaths overall. For the entire influenza season, they report 16,203 P&I deaths within a total of 230,454 deaths.
The CDC, using data from 15 states containing 9 percent of the population, reports a total of 10,227 laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations through Feb. 23. A total of 35,040 such hospitalizations are reported on 23 state websites. The CDC reports a hospitalization rate of 36.7 patients per 100,000 population, suggesting a total of about 115,000 patients hospitalized nationally with influenza.
While the national trend continue downward, several states remain fully involved with the flu epidemic. The national rate for visits to doctors for ILI is 2.7 percent. Oregon, Michigan, Vermont and Virginia report the highest ILI levels. Oregon has an ILI rate of 3.1 percent. Michigan has a 3.5 percent rate. Vermont's ILI rate is about 15 percent while Virginia reports around a 3.5 percent ILI rate.