Last Flu Season Fizzled Out
Every year, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) usually generates estimates of the number of healthcare encounters that happen during a flu season. These estimates are used to describe the annual burden of flu collectively.
The CDC uses a mathematical model based on real-world data to produce these estimates.
During the USA's 2020-2021 flu season, the number of people hospitalized with influenza was too low to generate stable burden estimates.
Furthermore, as the 2021-2022 flu season ends, the CDC's data indicates that 3.7% of species tested were found positive since October 2021.
This data compares with 2019 when 16.8% of tested species were found positive.
And recently, the influenza-positive rate decreased to 1.3% as of September 29, 2022.
When forecasting the potential impact of the 2022-2023 flu season, most health leaders look to the impact of influenza in the Southern Hemisphere, specifically Australia.
The good news from down-under is Australia reported the number of sentinel hospital patients with influenza was 'low to moderate.'
Australian Influenza Surveillance Report #13, with data ending September 25, 2022, has 224,565 notifications reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System in Australia, of which 818 notices had a diagnosis date.
And the weekly number of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications in 2022 had decreased to below the weekly 5-year average since mid-July 2022.
Australia also reported a preliminary flu shot effectiveness rate in the 40-60% range.
Back in the USA, the CDC also reported influenza mortality rate continued to be minimal.
The National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance data available on September 29, 2022, deaths that occurred during week #38 due to pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 (PIC) were above the epidemic threshold of 5.6%.
However, among the 2,035 PIC deaths reported for last week, only six listed influenza, indicating that current PIC mortality is due primarily to Pneumonia and COVID-19 and not influenza.
The best news from the CDC is that several U.S. FDA-approved flu shots are available at most clinics and pharmacies this year.
And real-world studies announced on September 26, 2022, showed the positive impact that cell-based and adjuvanted influenza vaccines have in reducing the burden of seasonal influenza on hospitals and health systems.
But, unless people get their annual flu shot before the influenza season arrives, the recent trend of good news may turn sour.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes fact-checked, research-based vaccine news manually curated for mobile readership.
Note: This preliminary data may change as more data are received and processed.