The rate of people seeking medical care for flu-like symptoms saw a small uptick this past week, but laboratory-confirmed flu cases remain low, according to recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Overall, according to the CDC’s weekly FluView report, influenza cases throughout the country are minimal. Only 1.3% of visits to healthcare providers were for influenza-like illnesses during the week ending in October 31, a bump from the previous week’s 1.2%. So far, no flu-related deaths have been reported and the CDC has not yet released hospitalization data.
Many people tested for flu have tested negative for all strains of the virus. Of the 16,456 specimens tested in clinical laboratories, just .1% tested positive.
Since patients are encouraged to stay home if they experience flu-like symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic, even avoiding contact with their primary care providers, the numbers of positive flu cases may be obscured by changes in healthcare seeking behavior, the CDC data suggests.
Out of the more than 16,000 people tested for flu, just 21 tested positive. Of those positive cases, influenza A was the most common strain.
While flu season is off to a slow start, the CDC is urging everyone to get a flu vaccine. “An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications,” the CDC’s report says. “If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet, get vaccinated now.”