Influenza activity continues to decline, according to the most recent FluView, which reports that influenza-like-illness (ILI) in the United States has fallen below baseline for the second consecutive week since the middle of November.
This along with other key indicators demonstrate that flu season is coming to an end, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The 2014-2015 flu season started early and lasted longer than average. Influenza-like-illness (ILI) went above baseline the week ending November 22 and remained elevated for 20 consecutive weeks, making this season slightly longer than average.
For people 65 years of age and older, it was an especially severe flu season. This season, the CDC recorded the highest hospitalization rates among this age group since this type of record-keeping began in 2005.
People 65 and older accounted for more than 60 percent of all reported hospitalizations and from September 28 through April 18, an estimated 313.8 per 100,000 people in the age group were hospitalized from flu. The next highest recorded hospitalization rate in this age group (182.3 per 100,000) occurred during the 2012-2013 season.
During most of the season influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated; however, the country experienced a second wave of influenza B flu activity since early March. Second waves of influenza B activity are common the federal health agency noted.
Flu-related deaths this season were within expected boundaries for an H3N2 dominant season.
There has been 128 pediatric flu related deaths this season.
How well did the 2014-2015 seasonal flu vaccine do?
If you remember back in December, it was reported that most of the circulating influenza A (H3N2) viruses were different or “drifted” from the H3N2 vaccine virus.
The CDC reports interim estimates showed the 2014-15 flu vaccine reduced the risk of flu-associated medical visits from influenza A (H3N2) viruses by 18% ( a quite low number). However, vaccine effectiveness against influenza B viruses—which were mostly well-matched to the vaccine viruses—was 45% overall.