Indiana saw little relief from epidemic influenza, according to the week 4 flu report issued by the state's health department on Jan. 30. The report detailed activity for the week ending Jan. 26, which is the latest data available. Three patients died from the flu or flu complications in the week. Since the flu season began, there have been two pediatric flu deaths and 41 adult deaths.
Rates for visits for influenza-like illnesses (ILI) to emergency departments and healthcare providers were both down slightly for the week. Patients visiting emergency departments for ILI symptoms accounted for 4.16 percent of all visits. Other providers saw an ILI rate of 3.54 percent. While both rates were down from week three, the ILI rates at emergency departments have hovered around four percent for the last six weeks. The provider ILI rates have fallen from over 7 percent at the end of 2012.
Elderly patients, those 65 or older, account for 35 of the 43 total influenza deaths. The health department reports that 42 of the 43 patients who died of the flu had underlying medical conditions. The most common were "cardiac disease, COPD, diabetes, asthma and renal disease." The most common complications from acute influenza infections were pneumonia or acute respiratory distress.
The Centers for Disease Control will release the national influenza report for week four on Feb. 1. The national ILI rate for visits to providers in week three was 4.3 percent. Indiana is experiencing a lower rate than the national average.