Flu Season Hitting Early, May Be Bad, CDC Says

December 14, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Although influenza is unpredictable, “the early nature of the cases as well as the specific strains we’re seeing suggest that this could be a bad flu year,” according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials speaking during a December 3, 2012, CDC telebriefing. CDC observed an uptick in reports of influenza-like illness in late November and early December; it usually does not reach such levels until after the New Year. It represents the earliest regular flu season since 2003-2004. Nationally, about 2.2% of outpatient visits to healthcare providers (e.g., physician offices, emergency departments) are currently for flu-like symptoms, but in five states—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas—that figure exceeds 4%. CDC said that other states will likely reach such levels as the flu season continues.

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