Signs of an intensifying epidemic

CDC - Percentage of Influenza Mortality for 122 CitiesAccording to CDC data for the week ending 24 October, all but two states are reporting widespread influenza activity.  Yet there are a handful news accounts and blogs that are raising the question whether H1N1 has peaked. Examples can be found at LA Times and the skepticist Wisdom Bits.

Anyone who has hazarded their savings to the financial markets is surely aware that it is difficult to find the top or bottom of a trend.  With that in mind…

The percentage of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza has been above epidemic threshold for four consecutive weeks.

  • There were an additional 22 deaths pediatric deaths in the U.S., (persons under age seventeen), bringing the total deaths in this group to 74 since 30 August and to 114 overall.  Cumulative hospitalization rates for this group appear on a path that will markedly exceed the last three flu seasons.
  • Outpatient visit rates for influenza-like illnesses (ILI) are sharply higher for this time of year. Eight percent of patient visits to doctor’s offices and clinics were from ILI, above the national baseline of 2.3%.

CDC - Percentage of ILI Reported by the US Outpatient ILI Surveillance Network-ILINet

School closings are another barometer of the spread of H1N1. 

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AP: Swine flu prompts hundreds of schools to close
CIDRAP: Spikes in US indicators point to intensifying pandemic

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