The New England states are reporting some easing of the current seasonal influenza epidemic in the reports made public for week three of 2013. Massachusetts and Connecticut have the highest populations in the region and are showing little progress. Rhode Island and Vermont are reporting a slight lowering of cases. Maine and New Hampshire have not released their week three report as of Jan. 26.
Massachusetts is reporting widespread influenza activity and a low rate of patient visits to healthcare professionals for influenza-like illnesses (ILI). The ILI rate is now 2.26 percent, about half of its peak two weeks ago. The highest levels of ILI activity are in the western and central part of the state. Boston and the remainder of the state continue to have ILI rates above their baselines.
In Connecticut, flu activity is also widespread. The rate of visits to emergency departments for fever and flu has reached its highest rate of the flu season at 12.4 percent. The rate of ILI visits has also reached a twelve week high at five percent. Influenza-like illnesses are highest in both the eastern and western parts of the state.
Rhode Island states that there is widespread flu activity in the state. The rate of ILI visits to healthcare providers peaked in the last week of 2012, and has hovered around three percent for the three weeks since it peaked.
Vermont has reported some of the highest ILI rates nationally. About 18 percent of all visits to hospital emergency departments in week three were ILI related. That rate is higher than week two but down from a week one peak of over 20 percent. The rate of visits to healthcare providers for an ILI was four percent, down from a week two high of over 5.5 percent.
Maine and New Hampshire have not released week three data. In the CDC influenza report for week three, Maine reports minimal ILI activity. New Hampshire is reporting low ILI activity. Both states are reporting influenza is widespread.