2014 Ends with Flu Levels Below Epidemic Level

Article

The final flu report of 2014 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not bring good news heading into the New Year.

The final flu report of 2014 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not bring good news heading into the New Year.

According to the latest data, the US World Health Organization and Enteric Virus Surveillance System tested just over 24,000 specimens from around the country. From that sample size, 7,289 tested positive for the flu. If there was good news it was that the number of deaths attributed to the flu from December 21-27 dropped below the epidemic threshold it had reached just the week prior.

Sadly, there were 6 influenza-associated deaths for children in that time. That brought the total number of flu-related deaths to 21 during the current season.

The ratio for flu-related hospitalizations was 12.6 patients per 100,000 people. For those patients who were not hospitalized, outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was reported to be at 5.9%, which was still well above the baseline measurement of 2.0%.

The CDC data also showed that in all 11 regions reports of flu-like illnesses were at or above their baselines. In addition, 29 states as well as Puerto Rico reported high levels of ILI while six states as well as New York City reported moderate ILI levels. As of the end of the year the flu had been reported as “widespread” in 43 states.

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