Flu killed up to 54,800 people this season, CDC estimates

The flu has caused as many as 40.1 million illnesses and 54,800 deaths this season, according to CDC estimates based on the agency’s most recent FluView report. During the 2017-18 flu season, an estimated 80,000 people died.

Six things to know:

1. The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness decreased to 2.8 percent for the week ending April 6. However, this figure still sits above the national baseline of 2.2 percent. The agency estimates up to 18.8 million flu-related medical visits have occurred between Oct. 1, 2018 and April 6.

2. The number of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu viruses also decreased. CDC confirmed 3,570 positive specimens for influenza A in the week ending April 6, which marks a nearly 1,000-specimen drop from the previous week. The agency also confirmed 387 positive specimens for influenza B, which is on par with the week prior.

3. The overall flu-associated hospitalization rate increased from 56.4 per 100,000 for the week ending March 30 to 59.9 per 100,000 for the week ending April 6. The CDC estimates flu caused up to 585,000 hospitalizations between Oct. 1, 2018, and April 6.

4. Four states experienced high influenza-like illness activity for the week ending April 6; eight states reported moderate activity; 21 states experienced low activity; and Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and 17 states experienced minimal activity.

5. Four pediatric flu deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending April 6, bringing the total count to 86 for the 2018-19 season.

6. Flu was still widespread in 20 states for the week ending April 6. Puerto Rico and 25 states reported regional flu activity. Washington, D.C., and five states reported local flu activity.

 

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