Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
ATLANTA Influenza activity continues to increase in the United States and most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest FluView report.
"Reports of influenza-like illness are nearing what have been peak levels during moderately severe seasons,"
according to Dr. Joe Bresee.
CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination and antiviral treatment when appropriate at this time.
Influenza is the fourth leading cause of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives who are 65 years and older.
"While we can't say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations,"
says Bresee, who is Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division.
"Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now,"
"And it's important to remember that people who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated. Also, you don't need to wait for a positive laboratory test to start taking antivirals."
Twenty-nine states and New York City are now reporting high levels of influenza-like illness and another 9 states are reporting moderate levels of influenza-like illness. Ten states are still reporting low or minimal influenza-likeillness. These are: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia and 2 states did not have enough information to calculate an activity level.
Information about flu-related hospitalizations is collected from 15 states to calculate a rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations. Right now, cumulative influenza hospitalization rates are 8.1 per 100,000 people.
According to Bresee, "This is high for this time of year."
Influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reportable to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the 2004-2005 season. To date, CDC has received reports of 18 pediatric deaths this season.
posted January 7, 2013 6:50 am est