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CDC issues health advisory as flu activity remains unusually high :

March 29, 2019

Editor's note: An updated flu story is available at

Flu activity declined last week but remains unusually high for this time of year, due to a late surge in H3N2 viruses.

Anticipating several more weeks before the season ends, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory Friday morning urging clinicians to continue to be vigilant and provide early antiviral treatment for high-risk patients suspected to have the flu.

About 3.8% of outpatient clinic visits were for flu during the week ending March 23, down from 4.3% the week before but still well above the baseline of 2.2%, according to CDC data. Flu activity has been above baseline for 18 weeks, while the average for the past five seasons was 16 weeks. The virus is widespread in 34 states, down from 44 the previous week.

One pediatric death was reported last week, bringing the total to 77. Across all ages, the CDC estimates as many as 35.9 million people have gotten sick and 46,800 have died.

Cumulative hospitalization rates rose to 52.5 per 100,000 people, while children ages 4 and under were hospitalized at a rate of 63.6 per 100,000.

The CDC and the Academy recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccine is 61% effective against medically attended influenza for children and 47% for the overall population, according to interim data from the CDC.

This season, inactivated influenza vaccine has been the primary vaccine choice, while quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine may be used for children who would not otherwise receive a vaccine, according to AAP policy.However, the AAP recently announced that it will not have a preference between the two vaccines next season.

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