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Update: Influenza Activity -- United States

Reports of influenza-like morbidity, virus isolates, and mortality from state epidemiologists, family physicians, and health officials in 121 U.S. cities continue to indicate increased influenza activity during January. Wyoming reported widespread outbreaks, and eight states (California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah) reported regional outbreaks for the week ending January 19, 1985. By January 22, influenza virus isolates had been reported from 27 states (26 with type A(H3N2) isolates, five with type B isolates, and one (Texas) with type A(H1N1)), compared with the nine states where influenza virus had been reported at the end of December. Only type A(H3N2) viruses have been associated with outbreaks. Family physicians who report weekly to CDC reported an average of eight patients with influenza-like illnesses for the reporting week ending January 9. This is about twice the average reported before influenza activity began but only about half of the average 14 cases weekly reported at the peak of the 1983-1984 influenza epidemic, when many outbreaks of type A(H1N1) influenza were occurring.

Of total deaths reported from 121 U.S. cities, the percentage attributed to influenza and pneumonia (P&I) (Table IV) increased from a range of 4.8 to 5.0 in December to one of 5.5 and 5.7 in mid-January. P&I ratios in excess of 5% rarely occur in the absence of influenza epidemics, and the last time the percentage of deaths attributed to P&I exceeded 5.5% was in 1980-1981. In that epidemic, when many type A(H2N3) virus outbreaks were occurring, the P&I ratio peaked at 7.0. Reported by State and Territorial Epidemiologists; State Laboratory Directors; G Kobayashi, Hawaii Dept of Health; R Webster, PhD, St Jude Hospital, Memphis, P Wright, MD, M Kervina, MS, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, S Fricker, MPH, Tennessee State Dept of Health & Environment; N Swack, PhD, Iowa Dept of Health; Other collaborating laboratories; Participating physicians of the American Academy of Family Physicians; Statistical Svcs Br, Div of Surveillance and Epidemiologic Studies, Epidemiology Program Office, Influenza Br, Div of Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

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