Influenza-related hospitalizations of the elderly rose last week and were well above hospitalization rates seen during the same week of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to a weekly flu report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of the end of last week, the rate of hospitalizations of the elderly stood at 97.7 per 100,000 population, well above the rate of 23.6 per 100,000 population seen during the same stage of the 2009-2010 flu season. The previous week the rate for the elderly stood at 90.1. The CDC continued to urge people over 65 and at high risk of getting the flu to get a vaccination and seek treatment quickly if they show signs of the flu.
The flu-related hospitalization rate overall was 22.2, up from 20.5 per 100,000 the previous week.
Of all deaths reported through the Cities Mortality Reporting System, the percentage of deaths associated with the flu or pneumonia rose to 9.8% from 8.3% the previous week, and remained above the epidemic threshold, which was 7.3% for last week.
The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness fell to 4.3% from a revised 4.5%.
Geographically, influenza activity remained strong in many states last week, though there were signs that the spread of the flu is moderating in some areas, according to the CDC. Twenty-six states and New York City experienced high influenza-like illness activity, down from 30 the previous week; 14 states experienced moderate activity, up from 10; and nine states reported low activity, up from seven. Maine was the only state with minimal activity, down from three.
In general, the Midwest, New England, South and Southeast regions are declining in activity, and the Southwest and the Northwest are rising, according to the CDC.