The US sees the most flu hospitalizations in a decade

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Editor’s Note: View cold and flu activity in your location with the WebMD tracker.

Dec. 12, 2022 — The number of Americans hospitalized for the flu has reached the highest level the country has seen in at least a decade, the CDC said Friday.

However, the number of deaths and outpatient visits for flu or flu-like illness decreased slightly from the previous week, the CDC said in its weekly FluView report.

In those 7 days, there were nearly 26,000 new hospitalizations with laboratory-confirmed influenza, an increase of over 31% from the previous week, based on data from 5,000 hospitals in the HHS Protect system, which tracks and shares COVID-19 data.

The cumulative hospitalization rate for the 2022-23 season is 26.0 per 100,000 people, the highest at this time of year since 2010-11, the CDC said based on data from its Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network, which includes hospitals in select counties in 13 states .

At this point in the 2019-20 season, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cumulative rate was 3.1 per 100,000 residents, CDC data showss.

On a positive note, the proportion of influenza-like illness outpatient visits fell slightly to 7.2%, from 7.5% the week before. However, these cases from the CDC’s Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network are not laboratory-confirmed, so the data could include people with the flu, COVID-19, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The number of confirmed flu deaths for the week of November 27 to December 3 also fell slightly from the last full week of November, 246 from 255, but the number of pediatric deaths rose from two to seven and the total number of child deaths are already up to 21 for 2022-23. That compares to 44 reported throughout the 2021-22 season, the CDC said.

“So far this season there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations and 7,300 deaths from flu,” the agency estimated.

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The US sees the most flu hospitalizations in a decade
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