Pennsylvania's Health Department released its latest influenza report on Jan. 30, for week four ending Jan. 26. The influenza epidemic may have peaked in the state but its toll on patients over age 65 is increasing. Influenza outbreaks in long term care facilities increased by 43 percent in just one week, with 94 outbreaks being reported. The state has experienced 102 influenza deaths since Oct. 1, and 89 have been elderly patients. Only 1 pediatric death from influenza has been reported.
Emergency department visits for influenza-like illnesses decreased in the week to 3.5 percent of all visits. That is a drop from week three's level of 4 percent but above the baseline rate of 2.4 percent.
The report spells out the effects on elderly Pennsylvanians. Patients over age 65 account for 22 percent of all patients testing positive for flu. They are almost 70 percent of all influenza related hospitalizations.
Over 2,500 patients of all ages have been hospitalized for flu and flu complications. The month of January has seen 2,050 hospitalizations. The weekly number of those hospitalized for influenza have fallen since mid-month, with 485 admissions in week four.
The Centers for Disease Control will be releasing their national week four influenza report on Feb. 1. The report for week three shows the national ILI visitation rate to be 4.3 percent. Pennsylvania is under the nation rate.