Flu Season off to Early and Strong Start

Each week, the CDC publishes an influenza summary update and as public health professionals already know, this year’s flu season has started strong and early. This year’s flu season got the earliest start since the “moderately severe” season of 2003, according to WebMD Health News.

So far, flu-like illnesses have been reported as “widespread” in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. And WebMD’s cold and flu map is showing additional “severe” flu activity in Georgia, South Carolina, and South Dakota.

EpiCenter’s data is showing a similar uptick in national flu-related ER visits. From October through mid-December, fever-related ER visits have increased nearly threefold—while respiratory-related ER visits have slightly increased.

The CDC estimates that 112 million Americans have already received flu shots this season—meaning 37% of the eligible population endured the needle or nasal spray. HMS will keep tabs on the flu data that EpiCenter collects and continue to post updates to provide public health professionals with additional information on this year’s flu season.