The New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released their latest reports on the influenza epidemic on Feb. 15. For New Yorkers, the good news is that the flu outbreak seems to be slowing. Illnesses peaked in mid-December and again, at a lower level, in mid-January.
The latest data from New York is for the week ending Feb. 9, week six. There have been 7,523 patients hospitalized in New York with laboratory confirmed influenza since the 2012-2013 flu season began Oct. 1. Six children have died from the illness or its complications with three of those deaths occurring in New York City.
Hospitals and nursing homes throughout the state have reported 477 confirmed influenza outbreaks this season and 25 for the week six. The elderly, age 65 and older, make up 51 percent of all patients hospitalized with the flu. Patients under age 18 make up an additional 19 percent.
The rates of emergency department visits for an influenza-like illness (ILI) remain highest on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley. Over six percent of ED visits in those areas were for an ILI. In New York City, that rate is just over three percent, with the majority of those in children under age 18.
The weekly report from the CDC for week six has the death rate from pneumonia and influenza remaining well above the epidemic level. The 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System showed the rate taking a tic up for the week to 9.1 percent, with the epidemic level at 7.5 percent. The CDC has 64 pediatric influenza deaths reported through Feb. 9.