Low influenza activity was reported in Denton County for week 18. Denton County sentinel providers reported that there were 265 influenza tests performed during week 18, resulting in 20 positive influenza tests (13 Flu A and 7 Flu B) and 2 hospitalizations.
During Week 18
During week 18, intensity of influenza-like illness in the state of Texas was minimal. The percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza by Texas hospital laboratories was 7.62% for week 18. The percentage of visits for ILI in Texas as reported by ILINet providers decreased to 2.20% in week 18 compared to the previous week.
Influenza activity across the United States varies by region. Influenza activity continues to increase in some areas of the country. The percentage of specimens testing positive in clinical labs for influenza in the US was 8.6% for week 18. The proportion of outpatient visits for ILI in the US in week 18 was 2.3%, which is below the national baseline of 2.5%. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19 (PIC) from the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System for week 18 was 7.2%, which is above the epidemic threshold of 6.6% for week 18.
For more information on the similarities and differences between the symptoms, incubation period, and contagiousness of influenza and COVID-19, visit the CDC’s Flu and COVID-19 website.
Healthcare providers should be aware of the following recommendations:
Clinicians should encourage all patients 6 months of age and older who have not yet received an influenza vaccine this season to be vaccinated against influenza.
Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) have limited sensitivities and predictive values; negative results of RIDTs do not exclude influenza virus infection in patients with signs and symptoms suggestive of influenza. Therefore, antiviral treatment should not be withheld from patients with suspected influenza, even if they test negative.
Clinicians should encourage all persons with influenza-like illness who are at high risk for influenza complications to seek care promptly to determine if treatment with influenza antiviral medications is warranted.
All Hospitalized, Severely Ill, and High Risk Patients with suspected influenza should be treated with antivirals. Prompt treatment with influenza antiviral drugs can reduce serious illness and death. These drugs work best when started soon after influenza symptoms begin (within 2 days), but persons with high-risk conditions can benefit even when antiviral treatment is started after the first two days of illness.