Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates very high flu activity in Louisiana, and high activity in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina. The flu season typically peaks in December or January but started early in October last year and is making a November appearance this year. While flu activity is on the rise in various states, several indicators suggest increased flu activity.
The U.S. flu season has officially begun, with health officials reporting high levels of flu illnesses in at least seven states and rising cases in other parts of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new flu data, revealing the following states with high flu activity last week: Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina. Additionally, high flu activity was reported in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, where an influenza epidemic was declared earlier this month.
Traditionally, the winter flu season tends to intensify in December or January. However, last year saw an early onset in October, and this year, the flu season is making an entrance in November.
Moderate but increasing flu activity was observed in New York City, Arkansas, California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Alaska has been experiencing high flu activity for several weeks, but it did not report data for the latest count.
Monitoring flu activity during the season relies on reports of individuals with flu-like symptoms who seek medical attention at doctor’s offices or hospitals. Many people with the flu are not tested, resulting in unconfirmed lab cases. Additionally, the presence of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses can sometimes complicate the assessment of flu activity.
Alicia Budd, who leads the CDC’s flu surveillance team, noted that multiple indicators are demonstrating “continued increases” in flu activity.
Different strains of flu viruses circulate each year, and the predominant strain this season is one that typically leads to fewer hospitalizations and deaths among the elderly, a group that is particularly susceptible to the flu’s impact.
Since the beginning of the fall season, the CDC estimates there have been at least 780,000 flu illnesses, over 8,000 hospitalizations, and at least 490 flu-related deaths, including one child.
While the exact effectiveness of the current flu vaccines remains to be determined, they are well-matched to the flu strains detected. According to current CDC data, approximately 35% of U.S. adults and 33% of children have received a flu vaccination. These rates are lower compared to last year in both adult and child categories.
Flu vaccination rates are higher than those for other prominent respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and RSV. Approximately 14% of adults and 5% of children have received the recommended COVID-19 vaccine, while around 13.5% of adults aged 60 and older have received one of the available RSV shots introduced earlier this year.