The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Friday that influenza activity increased again this past week.
All U.S. states but Hawaii and Oregon continue to report widespread flu activity and the number of states experiencing high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity increased from 39 states plus New York City and Puerto Rico to 42 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia.
In Los Angeles County, health officials report high levels of influenza (flu) activity continue. To date, there are 158 confirmed influenza-associated deaths in Los Angeles County. By comparison, there were a total of 80 confirmed influenza-associated deaths during the entire flu season last year. Nearly 85% of deaths have occurred in adults over 65 years old and one death occurred in a child under 18 years old.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health expects influenza activity to remain elevated for several weeks to come. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses are the most common this season; H3N2- predominant seasons tend to be more severe.
“It is not too late to get the influenza vaccine”, said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “Although the influenza vaccine can vary in how well it works, it remains the best way to prevent influenza illness and serious influenza-associated complications.”
Nationally, the overall hospitalization rate is higher than the overall hospitalization rate reported during the same week of the 2014-2015 season; the most severe season in recent years. In addition, CDC reports 53 pediatric deaths this season attributed to the flu.