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Update: Influenza Activity -- United States

Since January 22, 1985, 11 additional states (Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, and West Virginia) reported isolations of type A(H3N2) influenza viruses, for a total of 37 reporting states this season. Figure 2 illustrates the increases in virus isolations, patient visits to sentinel family physicians for influenza, and pneumonia and influenza (P&I) mortality in 121 cities reported from national surveillance systems since the beginning of the year. Reported by 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; R Belshe, PhD, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia; A Monto, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; D Smith, T Munro, MS, RK Sikes, DVM, State Epidemiologist, Georgia Dept of Human Resources; Montgomery County Health Dept, Alabama; State and Territorial Epidemiologists; State Laboratory Directors; 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.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Reports of virus isolations, patient visits for influenza-like illness reported by family physicians, and P&I statistics from 121 cities are useful in providing an overview of the period of prevalence of influenza in the nation and for broad comparisons of the relative impacts of different influenza strains. These reports do not represent the actual number of cases in the nation, nor can they be extrapolated to determine the incidence of influenza on a national or local level. This year's preliminary observations of apparent increases in the number of deaths from P&I are consistent with a general pattern that type A(H3N2) viruses are more frequently associated with severe illness among the elderly than type A(H1N1) or type B influenza, which were responsible for most activity last year and in 1981-1982. In 1982-1983, when influenza A(H3N2) viruses last predominated, their impact on mortality may have been reduced, since the strains were similar to those causing the 1980-1981 epidemic. However, even though this year's strain (A/Philippines/2/82) has not previously circulated to any great extent in the United States, it is not possible to predict what the final extent of this year's activity will be.

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