Kansas has now joined most of the rest of the continental United States as reporting widespread influenza activity, according to the Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kansas pharmacists should continue to encourage patients to get their flu shots even though we are well into flu season. The flu vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.
The CDC report notes key indicators that track flu activity remain high, but indicators that track severity (hospitalizations and deaths) are not high at this point in the season. Visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness has descreased slightly, but hospitalizations increased. The percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza is 5.8 percent, which is below the epidemic threshold. Five new pediatric deaths were reported, bringing the seasonal total to 32.
CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 9.7 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths from flu.
See the full report.