US Flu Cases Slow to Develop

November 27, 2012; 4:54 AM ET
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In the week ending on Nov. 17, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported there were 494 positive influenza test results out of 3,742 specimens nationwide.

There has been an increase in cases of influenza since the prior week's observations. However, the cases reported for the nation are below the national baseline of 2.2 percent.

The national baseline is determined by calculating the mean percentage of patient visits to health care providers for influenza-like illnesses (a temperature of 100 degrees F [37.8 degrees C] or greater and a cough and/or a sore throat without a known cause other than influenza) during non-influenza weeks for the previous three seasons and adding two standard deviations.

The CDC measures influenza cases broken into 10 geographical regions of the United States. In their weekly report, the CDC said the reported cases of influenza in all 10 regions are below region specific baseline levels.

Currently, Alaska is the only state reporting cases of widespread influenza and Mississippi is the only state reporting high occurrences of influenza-like illnesses.

This map represents the reported influenza-like illness levels by state. The white states had too little information to be measured, green states have the lowest levels of influenza reported and the red states represent the highest levels. The map is courtesy of the CDC.

The CDC began recording pediatric deaths in 2004, following 153 pediatric deaths reported during the 2003-04 influenza season.

At the time of this report, two pediatric deaths have been attributed to influenza. These deaths are occurring at about the same rate of those reported during the 2011-12 influenza season. The total pediatric deaths attributed to influenza last season were 34.

Even though most states are not seeing a large amount of influenza cases yet, the CDC recommends that you get a flu shot if you have not already done so.

Cases of influenza in the U.S. typically peak during January.

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