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Flu Update • Week 51 (ending Dec. 24, 2022)

Local flu activity is high. Read below for more.

 
Published Jan. 4, 2023.

To help healthcare providers stay up to date and make testing and treatment decisions, we publish flu activity updates throughout the season. To receive flu updates by email, go to our our notifications page and sign up for Health Advisories/Disease Alerts for Providers. 

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

Offer flu vaccine to everyone 6 months or older, until the vaccine expires. 

Check out this season’s testing and treatment guidelines

Pierce County

Flu activity was high, but we are starting to see a downward trend. 

Urgent visits

  • This week, 6.1% of visits to emergency departments/urgent cares were for influenza-like illness (ILI).*

Hospitalizations

  • This week, 4.6% of admitted patients had ILI.

Deaths⁎⁎

  • So far this season, providers reported 14 deaths from flu, including 13 adults and 1 child. 

Outbreaks

  • So far this season, 16 long-term care facilities reported ILI outbreaks. 

Lab data

  • This week, local labs reported 2,480 flu tests. 488 (20.0%) tests were positive—459 for influenza A and 29 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 very high. See Washington State Department of Health’s full report for details.

Urgent visits

  • This week, 7.2% of visits to ILI Network†† providers were for ILI, above the 1.8% baseline.

Deaths

  • So far this season, providers reported 93 deaths from flu, including 4 children and 89 adults. 

Outbreaks

  • So far this season, 92 long-term care facilities reported an ILI outbreak.

Lab data

  • This week, WHO/NREVSS labs reported 15.9% of specimens tested positive for flu.

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 is high but appears to be declining in most areas. Multiple respiratory viruses are cocirculating. This week’s cumulative hospitalization rate in the FluSurv-NET system was more than 4 times higher than the highest cumulative in-season hospitalization rate observed for week 51 during previous seasons going back to 2010-2011. However, this in-season rate is still lower than end-of-season hospitalization rates for all but 4 pre-COVID-19-pandemic seasons going back to 2010-11. 

Most tested influenza viruses are in the same genetic subclade as, and antigenically similar to, the viruses in this season’s vaccine. This season, of detected and subtyped influenza A viruses, 83% were A(H3N2) and 17% were A(H1N1). See CDC’s full report for details. 

ILI activity

  • This week, 6.1% of visits to ILINet providers were for ILI, above the 2.5% baseline. 
  • This week, 44 jurisdictions reported very high or high ILI activity and 4 reported moderate activity. All other jurisdictions reported low or minimal activity. 

Lab data

  • This week, clinical labs reported 19.8% of specimens tested positive. 

Mortality surveillance

  • This week, pneumonia, flu or COVID-19 caused 12.1% of deaths, above the 6.9% epidemic threshold for week 50. While COVID-19 caused most of the deaths, the proportion caused by flu is increasing. 

Pediatric deaths

  • This week, providers reported 14 pediatric flu deaths. So far this season, providers reported 61 pediatric flu deaths. 
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.
Graph of Pierce County flu data. Call (253) 649-1412 for more information.