Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

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Key Updates for Week 6, ending February 8, 2020

Key indicators that track flu activity remain high and, after falling during the first two weeks of the year, increased over the last four weeks. Indicators that track overall severity (hospitalizations and deaths) are not high at this point in the season.

Viruses

Severe Disease

All data are preliminary and may change as more reports are received.

A description of the CDC influenza surveillance system, including methodology and detailed descriptions of each data component is available on the surveillance methods page.

Additional information on the current and previous influenza seasons for each surveillance component are available on FluView Interactive.

Key Points

  • Outpatient ILI and clinical laboratory data remain elevated and increased again this week. Nationally, and in some regions, the proportion of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses compared to influenza B viruses is increasing.
  • Overall, hospitalization rates remain similar to this time during recent seasons, but rates among children and young adults are higher at this time than in recent seasons.
  • Pneumonia and influenza mortality has been low, but 92 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season.
  • CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 26 million flu illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths from flu.
  • Flu vaccine effectiveness estimates will be available next week. Vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.
  • Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the four FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the U.S. this season.

U.S. Virologic Surveillance

Clinical Laboratories

The results of tests performed by clinical laboratories nationwide are summarized below. Data from clinical laboratories (the percentage of specimens tested that are positive for influenza) are used to monitor whether influenza activity is increasing or decreasing.

Week 6 Data Cumulative since
September 29, 2019
(week 40)
No. of specimens tested 54,982 823,555
No. of positive specimens (%) 16,934 (30.8%)
155,014 (18.8%)
Positive specimens by type    
    Influenza A 10,067 (59.4%) 67,285 (43.4%)
    Influenza B 6,867 (40.6%) 87,729 (56.6%)

The predominant virus also varies by age group. Nationally, for the season overall, influenza B viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among children and young adults age 0-4 years (56% of reported viruses) and 5-24 years (70% of reported viruses), while A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among persons 25-64 years (55% of reported viruses) and 65 years of age and older (62% of reported viruses). For this season, 51% of influenza positive specimens reported by public health laboratories were among persons less than 25 years of age and less than 13% were from persons age 65 and older.

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated
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Public Health Laboratories

The results of tests performed by public health laboratories nationwide are summarized below. Data from public health laboratories are used to monitor the proportion of circulating viruses that belong to each influenza subtype/lineage.

Week 6 Data Cumulative since
September 29, 2019
(week 40)
No. of specimens tested 1,936 51,930
No. of positive specimens 1,258 28,040
Positive specimens by type/subtype    
         Influenza A 833 (66.2%) 13,822 (49.3%)
            (H1N1)pdm09 721 (95.5%) 12,088 (90.0%)
             H3N2 34 (4.5%) 1,349 (10.0%)
             Subtyping not performed 78 385
        Influenza B 425 (33.8%) 14,218 (50.7%)
            Yamagata lineage 1 (0.3%) 178 (1.6%)
            Victoria lineage 361 (99.7%) 11,080 (98.4%)
            Lineage not performed 63 2,960

Nationally, influenza B/Victoria viruses have been reported more frequently than other influenza viruses this season. However, during recent weeks, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have been reported more frequently than B/Victoria viruses. The predominant virus varies by region. Regional and state level data about circulating influenza viruses can be found on FluView Interactive.

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated
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Additional virologic surveillance information for current and past seasons:
Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive: National, Regional, and State Data or Age Data


Influenza Virus Characterization

CDC performs genetic and antigenic characterization of U.S. viruses submitted from state and local health laboratories using Right Size Roadmap submission guidance. These data are used to compare how similar the currently circulating influenza viruses are to the reference viruses used for developing new influenza vaccines and to monitor evolutionary changes that continually occur in circulating influenza. Antigenic characterization data are based on an animal model (influenza-naive ferrets), and do not reflect pre-existing protection provided by past influenza infections and vaccinations. Additional antigenic characterization studies involving people vaccinated with current influenza vaccines are conducted later in the season; these data account for pre-existing protection in different populations against circulating influenza viruses. Genetic and antigenic characterization data are not used to make calculations about vaccine effectiveness (VE). CDC conducts VE studies each year to measure the benefits of flu vaccines in people.

CDC genetically characterized 1,462 influenza viruses collected in the U.S. from September 29, 2019, to February 8, 2020.

Virus Subtype or Lineage Genetic Characterization
Total No. of Subtype/Lineage Tested          Clade Number (% of subtype/lineage tested)          Subclade Number (% of subtype/lineage tested)
A/H1 484
6B.1A 484 (100%)
A/H3 339
3C.2a 325 (95.9%) 2a1 325 (95.9%)
   2a2 0
    2a3 0
2a4 0
3C.3a 14 (4.1%) 3a 14 (4.1%)
B/Victoria 579
V1A 579 (100%) V1A 0
V1A.1 49 (8.5%)
V1A.3 530 (91.5%)
B/Yamagata 60
Y3 60 (100%)

CDC antigenically characterizes a subset of influenza viruses by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) or neutralization based Focus Reduction assays (FRA). Antigenic drift is evaluated by comparing antigenic properties of cell-propagated reference viruses representing currently recommended vaccine components with those of cell-propagated circulating viruses. CDC antigenically characterized 244 influenza viruses collected in the United States from September 29, 2019, to February 8, 2020. These data are not used to make calculations about vaccine effectiveness (VE). CDC conducts VE studies each year to measure the benefits of flu vaccines in people.

Influenza A Viruses

  • A (H1N1)pdm09: 74 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were antigenically characterized by HI with ferret antisera, and all 74 (100%) were antigenically similar (reacting at titers that were within 4-fold of the homologous virus titer) to cell-propagated A/Brisbane/02/2018-like reference viruses representing the A(H1N1)pdm09 component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines.
  • A (H3N2): 72 A(H3N2) viruses were antigenically characterized by FRA with ferret antisera, and 31 (43.1%) were antigenically similar to cell-propagated A/Kansas/14/2017-like reference viruses representing the A(H3N2) component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines.

Influenza B Viruses

  • B/Victoria: 88 B/Victoria lineage viruses, including viruses from both co-circulating sub-clades, were antigenically characterized by HI with ferret antisera, and 53 (60.2%) were antigenically similar to cell-propagated B/Colorado/06/2017-like reference viruses representing the B/Victoria component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines.
  • B/Yamagata: 10 B/Yamagata lineage viruses were antigenically characterized by HI with ferret antisera, and all 10 (100%) were antigenically similar to cell-propagated B/Phuket/3073/2013-like reference viruses representing the B/Yamagata component for the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines.


CDC assesses susceptibility of influenza viruses to the antiviral medications including the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir) and the PA endonuclease inhibitor baloxavir using next generation sequence analysis supplemented by laboratory assays. Viruses collected in the United States since September 29, 2019, were tested for antiviral susceptibility as follows:

Antiviral Medication Total Viruses A/H1 A/H3 B/Victoria B/Yamagata
Neuraminidase Inhibitors
Oseltamivir Viruses Tested 1,415 469 326 560 60
Reduced Inhibition (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%)
Highly Reduced Inhibition 1 (0.1%) 1 (0.2%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%)
Peramivir Viruses Tested 1,415 469 326 560 60
Reduced Inhibition (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%)
Highly Reduced Inhibition 1 (0.1%) 1 (0.2%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%)
Zanamivir Viruses Tested 1,415 469 326 560 60
Reduced Inhibition 1 (0.1%) (0.0%) (0.0%) 1 (0.2%) (0.0%)
Highly Reduced Inhibition (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%)
PA Endonuclease Inhibitor
Baloxavir Viruses Tested 1,409 464 327 558 60
Reduced Susceptibility (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%) (0.0%)

A total of 353 additional viruses (173 H1pdm09, 22 H3, and 158 B) collected in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin were analyzed for resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors by pyrosequencing assay. Two (1.2%) of the 173 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses tested had the H275Y amino acid substitution in the neuraminidase that confers resistance to oseltamivir and potential resistance to peramivir. No markers of resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors were detected in A(H3N2) and type B viruses tested.



Outpatient Illness Surveillance

ILINet

Nationwide during week 6, 6.8% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.4%.

national levels of ILI and ARI
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On a regional level, the percentage of outpatient visits for ILI ranged from 3.6% to 10.8% during week 6. All regions reported a percentage of outpatient visits for ILI above their region-specific baselines.

ILI Activity Map

Data collected in ILINet are used to produce a measure of ILI activity* by state.

During week 6, the following ILI activity levels were experienced:

  • High – New York City, Puerto Rico, and 44 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming)
  • Moderate – two states (Nevada and Oregon)
  • Low - the District of Columbia and two states (Alaska and Florida)
  • Minimal - one state (Idaho)
  • Data were insufficient to calculate an ILI activity level from the U.S. Virgin Islands and one state (Delaware)

*Data collected in ILINet may disproportionally represent certain populations within a state, and therefore, may not accurately depict the full picture of influenza activity for the whole state. Differences in the data presented here by CDC and independently by some state health departments likely represent differing levels of data completeness with data presented by the state likely being the more complete.


Additional information about medically attended visits for ILI for current and past seasons:
Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive: National, Regional, and State Data or ILI Activity Map



Geographic Spread of Influenza as Assessed by State and Territorial Epidemiologists

The influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists indicates geographic spread of influenza viruses but does not measure the severity of influenza activity.

During week 6, the following influenza activity was reported:

  • Widespread – Puerto Rico and 48 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming)
  • Regional – two states (Hawaii and Oregon)
  • Local – the District of Columbia
  • Sporadic – the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Guam did not report.

Additional geographic spread surveillance information for current and past seasons:
Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive



Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations

The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in select counties in the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states and Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states.

A total of 12,167 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported by FluSurv-NET sites between October 1, 2019 and February 8, 2020; 7,881 (64.8%) were associated with influenza A virus, 4,213 (34.6%) with influenza B virus, 39 (0.3%) with influenza A virus and influenza B virus co-infection, and 34 (0.3%) with influenza virus for which the type was not determined. Among those with influenza A subtype information, 1,782 (93.2%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and 129 (6.8%) were A(H3N2).

The overall cumulative hospitalization rate was 41.9 per 100,000 population which is similar to what has been seen during recent previous influenza seasons at this time of year. Rates in children and young adults are higher than at this time in recent seasons.

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The highest rate of hospitalization is among adults aged ≥65, followed by children aged 0-4 years and adults aged 50-64 years.

Age Group 2019-2020 Season
Cumulative Rate per 100,000 Population
Overall 41.9
0-4 years 65.9
5-17 years 17.3
18-49 years 23.5
50-64 years 53.9
65+ years 101.6

Among 1,573 hospitalized adults with information on underlying medical conditions, 91.9% had at least one reported underlying medical condition, the most commonly reported were cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorder, obesity, and chronic lung disease. Among 333 hospitalized children with information on underlying medical conditions, 46.2% had at least one underlying medical condition; the most commonly reported was asthma. Among 299 hospitalized women of childbearing age (15-44 years) with information on pregnancy status, 26.4% were pregnant.

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Additional hospitalization surveillance information for current and past seasons and additional age groups:
Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive: Rates by Age or Patient Characteristics



Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) Mortality Surveillance

Based on National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data available on February 13, 2020, 6.8% of the deaths occurring during the week ending February 1, 2020 (week 5) were due to P&I. This percentage is below the epidemic threshold of 7.3% for week 5.

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated
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Additional pneumonia and influenza mortality surveillance information for current and past seasons:
Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive



Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality

14 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season between weeks 52 and 6 (the weeks ending December 28, 2019 and February 8, 2020) were reported to CDC during week 6. 10 were associated with influenza B viruses; one had a lineage determined and was a B/Victoria virus. Four were associated with influenza A viruses, and two were subtyped; one was an A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and one was an A(H3) virus.

Of the 92 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season and reported to CDC:

  • 62 deaths were associated with influenza B viruses, and 10 had a lineage determined; all were B/Victoria viruses.
  • 30 deaths were associated with influenza A viruses, and 18 were subtyped; 17 were A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses and one was an A(H3) virus.

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Additional pediatric mortality surveillance information for current and past seasons:
Surveillance Methods | FluView Interactive



Additional National and International Influenza Surveillance Information


FluView Interactive: FluView includes enhanced web-based interactive applications that can provide dynamic visuals of the influenza data collected and analyzed by CDC. These FluView Interactive applications allow people to create customized, visual interpretations of influenza data, as well as make comparisons across flu seasons, regions, age groups and a variety of other demographics. To access these tools, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluviewinteractive.htm

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Monthly surveillance data on the prevalence of health-related workplace absenteeism among full-time workers in the United States are available from NIOSH at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/absences/default.html

U.S. State and local influenza surveillance:Select a jurisdiction below to access the latest local influenza information

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

New York City

Puerto Rico

Virgin Islands



World Health Organization: Additional influenza surveillance information from participating WHO member nations is available through FluNet and the Global Epidemiology Reports.

WHO Collaborating Centers for Influenza located in Australia, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States (CDC in Atlanta, Georgia).

Europe: For the most recent influenza surveillance information from Europe, please see WHO/Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control at http://www.flunewseurope.org/.

Public Health Agency of Canada: The most up-to-date influenza information from Canada is available at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fluwatch/

Public Health England: The most up-to-date influenza information from the United Kingdom is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-national-flu-reports



Any links provided to non-Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links.

An overview of the CDC influenza surveillance system, including methodology and detailed descriptions of each data component, is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/overview.htm.

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