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Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Update: Influenza Activity -- United States

Influenza activity continued to increase throughout January and into February 1985. For the week ending February 9, 10 states (Alabama, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington) and the District of Columbia reported widespread outbreaks of influenza-like illness, and 14 states reported regional outbreaks. Family physicians who report weekly to CDC noted an average of 11 cases of influenza-like illness for the week ending January 30, compared with the average of 6.6 cases at the beginning of January.

Of total deaths reported from 121 U.S. cities, the proportion associated with pneumonia and influenza (P&I) has increased from about 5% at the beginning of January to 6.9% for the week ending February 9. P&I deaths most recently exceeded 6% in 1980-1981, when many type A(H3N2) virus outbreaks occurred, and P&I deaths peaked at 6.9%.

A total of 491 type A(H3N2) isolates have been reported to CDC through the week ending February 1 from the network of WHO collaborating laboratories in the United States, compared with 44 isolates reported through December 28, 1984. Including recent reports from Indiana, Kansas, and Virginia, influenza type A(H3N2) isolates have been reported from 42 states this season. Type B isolates have been reported infrequently this season, accounting for only five of the 496 isolates reported by the collaborating laboratories. Reported by E Balkovic, PhD, Veterans Administration Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut; F Hayden, MD, University of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville; Participating physicians of the American Academy of Family Physicians; State and Territorial Epidemiologists; State Laboratory Directors; Other collaborating laboratories; 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: The data from the indicators of influenza activity indicate that U.S. influenza outbreaks are now having a significant impact on illness and death. These indicators are statistical indices of actual numbers of cases and cannot be used to reliably extrapolate the numerical incidence of influenza.

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