health

Worst of flu season appears over

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 22, 2013

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The unusually aggressive influenza season that contributed to at least 116 pediatric deaths from October 2012 to April 6, 2013, seems to be coming to an end, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A key indicator of flu prevalence is outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, which decreased for the third consecutive time during the week of March 31 to April 6. The proportion of such visits was 1.5% during the week ending April 6, which is below the national baseline of 2.2%, the latest CDC data show.

The flu season can last into May, but cases of the illness typically peak in February, according to the CDC (link).

All 50 states and New York City reported low or minimal influenza-like illness activity during the week ending April 6. Data from Washington was insufficient to indicate flu activity, the CDC said.

There have been 12,052 laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations since Oct. 1, 2012, data show. That translates to 43.2 such hospitalizations per 100,000 people for the 2012-13 season.

Half of those hospital visits were for adults 65 and older. Contributing to the problem was that this season’s influenza vaccine offered relatively low levels of protection for that age group, the CDC said.

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