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Flu Update • Week 43 (ending Oct. 29, 2022)

Local flu activity was minimal but slowly increasing. Flu activity began earlier and higher than in the last 5 flu seasons. Read more below.

 
Published Nov. 9, 2022.

To help healthcare providers stay up to date and make testing and treatment decisions, we publish flu activity updates throughout the season.

To determine flu activity level, we monitor emergency department and urgent care visits; hospitalizations; lab test results; and outbreaks and deaths healthcare providers report.

Our flu updates:

  • Summarize flu activity in the community.
  • Report deaths from lab-confirmed flu.
  • Identify clusters of severe illness and flu outbreaks in congregate care settings.

To receive flu updates by email, go to our notifications page and sign up for Health Advisories/Disease Alerts for Providers.

Recommend everyone 6 months or older (without contraindication) get flu vaccine. Give flu vaccine throughout the season until it expires. Check out this season’s testing and treatment guidelines.

Flu is a notifiable condition when:

  • Labs can’t subtype the virus or suspect it to be novel.
  • A person dies with lab-confirmed flu.
  • An institution experiences a sudden increase (more than the normal background rate) of acute febrile respiratory illness or a resident of a long-term care facility tests positive for flu.

Pierce County

Flu activity was minimal but slowly increasing. Flu activity began earlier and higher than in the last 5 flu seasons.

Many schools reported higher than usual absenteeism because of a range of influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms. The highest proportion of emergency department visits and hospitalizations are children under 5 years old. Many children are testing positive for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Urgent visits

  • 2.8% of visits to emergency departments/urgent cares this week were for ILI.*

Hospitalizations

  • 1.6% of admitted patients this week had ILI.

Deaths⁎⁎

  • No provider reported a death from flu so far this season.

Outbreaks

  • No long-term care facility reported an ILI outbreak so far this season.

Lab data

  • Local labs reported 1,477 flu tests this week. 45 (3.0%) tests were positive—35 for influenza A and 10 for influenza B.
Notes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ILI case definition is fever and cough and/or sore throat in the absence of a known cause other than flu. Interpret ILI data with caution, as the COVID-19 pandemic affected healthcare-seeking behavior and other factors associated with respiratory syndrome monitoring.


⁎⁎Meets the case definition for flu-associated death: resulting directly or indirectly from a clinically compatible illness lab-confirmed to be flu. Flu deaths are likely under reported because providers might not list flu as a cause of death, order flu tests or notify the Health Department of the death.

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Systems and MultiCare Labs NW reported lab data.

Washington

Flu activity was minimal. See Washington State Department of Health’s full report for details.

Urgent visits

  • 2.0% of visits to ILI Network†† providers this week were for ILI, above the 1.8% baseline.

Deaths

  • Providers reported 3 deaths from flu so far this season.

Outbreaks

  • No long-term care facilities reported an ILI outbreak so far this season.

Lab data

  • WHO/NREVSS labs reported 4.0% of specimens tested positive for flu this week.
  • ILINet providers reported influenza A and influenza B this week.
Notes

††ILI Network is part of CDC ILINet outpatient ILI surveillance network. ILINet includes more than 2,600 United States outpatient healthcare providers. They report to CDC total patients seen and patients with ILI each week. Washington is in Region 10, along with Alaska, Idaho and Oregon.


World Health Organization (WHO)/National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System.

United States

Flu activity continued to increase nationwide. The southeast and south-central regions reported the highest flu activity, followed by the mid-Atlantic and south-central west coast regions. New Mexico Department of Health reported 1 human infection with a novel influenza A virus. This week’s cumulative hospitalization rate in FluSurv-NET was higher than in week 43 of every previous flu season since 2010–2011. See CDC’s full report for details.

ILI activity

  • 4.3% of visits to ILINet providers this week were for ILI, above the 2.5% baseline.
  • 19 jurisdictions reported very high or high ILI activity. 8 reported moderate activity. All other jurisdictions reported low or minimal activity.

Lab data

  • Clinical labs reported 9.0% of specimens tested positive for flu this week.

Mortality surveillance

  • Pneumonia, flu or COVID-19 caused 9.1% of deaths this week, above the 6.0% epidemic threshold for week 43. COVID-19 caused most of the deaths.

Pediatric deaths

  • A provider reported this season’s first pediatric flu death this week, from influenza A(H3).

Graph of Pierce County flu data. Call (253) 649-1412 for more information.

Graph of Pierce County flu data. Call (253) 649-1412 for more information.

Graph of Pierce County flu data. Call (253) 649-1412 for more information.

Graph of Pierce County flu data. Call (253) 649-1412 for more information.