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Influenza Update—Week 51

Dec. 28, 2018

Data are preliminary.

Pierce County

Pierce County influenza activity is increasing.

Since week 38 (week ending Sept. 22), we received 26 reports of influenza-associated hospitalizations. Hospitalized patients’ median age is 54.5 years; ranging from 10 months to 80 years. We received no reports of influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

Laboratories report an increasing percentage of specimens are positive for influenza. Among hospitalized patients, 3 specimens were subtyped, all H1.

A low percentage of emergency department (ED), urgent care and primary care visits are for ILI.

2018 12 28 Influenza Update Graph 1

2018 12 28 Influenza Update Graph 2

2018 12 28 Influenza Update Graph 3

2018 12 28 Influenza Update Graph 4


Washington influenza activity is low.

Department of Health received 5 reports of influenza-associated deaths. They received no reports of pediatric influenza deaths. During week 50 (week ending Dec. 15), 0.9% of outpatient visits to ILINet clinics were for ILI. That is below the 1.1% baseline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterized Washington ILI activity as minimal.

United States

United States influenza activity is increasing.

So far during the 2018-2019 influenza season, 11 children have died from influenza. 3.3% of outpatient visits to ILINet clinics were for ILI. That is above the 2.2% baseline. The influenza-associated hospitalization rate is 3.6 per 100,000 population. The highest rates of influenza-associated hospitalization are among children up to four years old and adults 65 or older (10 and 8 per 100,000 population, respectively). 6.2% of reported deaths are due to pneumonia and influenza. That is below the 6.6% baseline. Influenza A is predominant, with H1N1 predominating in 9 of 10 Health and Human Services (HHS) Regions. H3N2 is predominating in HHS Region 4 (southeastern United States).


Pierce County has seen a modest increase in influenza activity. Although no influenza deaths have been reported since mid-November, some patients currently hospitalized with influenza are critically ill. All Pierce County residents hospitalized with influenza have been adults—except for a 10-month-old child. The child was discharged to home in good condition. H1N1 remains the predominant influenza virus circulating in most of the United States, including our HHS Region. H1N1-predominated seasons are typically less severe than H3N2-predominated seasons. Nevertheless, influenza activity can be expected to increase through the winter months and possibly into spring. Immunization remains the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications.


CDC. (2018). 2018-2019 Influenza Season Week 51 Ending Dec. 22, 2018. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2018 from www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm.

Washington Department of Health. (2018). Washington Influenza Update Week 50: Dec. 9-15, 2018. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2018 from www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5100/420-100-FluUpdate.pdf.

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