South Carolina caught my eye this past week. Here are a few excerpts:
“Our big concern right now is that the flu virus is very active at this time in South Carolina, resulting in widespread activity in the state showing a significant increase in the number of cases being reported to us,” DHEC’s Beasley said earlier this week. “Considering that between Sept. 30 and all the previous weeks, we had been reporting rapid flu tests had totaled around 700 and then last week (Nov. 24) we reported 1,200, more than the previous weeks combined, definitely showed we had a significant increase statewide.”
As of Dec. 1, five people have died from the flu in South Caroilna, 131 have been hospitalized, 5,922 positive rapid tests and 85 positive lab-tested specimens have been reported. The 2011-2012 season had a total of 2,552 positive rapid antigen tests and one death. The 2010-2011 season saw a total of 47,106 positive rapid antigen tests and 20 deaths.
These numbers, as well as influenza-like illnesses seen by doctors and positive lab-tested specimens, are reported to DHEC weekly.
According to the CDC’s Nov. 24 influenza surveillance report, activity is most intense in the south-central and southeast portion of the country right now, with most of the infections stemming from the H3N2 viruses, a strain typically associated with more severe seasons.
From the CDC - Seasonal Influenza Weekly Report for Week 48: (click on chart to enlarge)
South Carolina: Between October 1, 2012 and December 1, 2012, 417 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported. This is a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 population. Among all hospitalizations, 319 (76.5%) were associated with influenza A, 90 (21.6%) with influenza B; there was no virus type information for 8 (1.9%) hospitalizations. Among hospitalizations with influenza A subtype information, 85 (96.6%) were attributed to H3 and 3 (3.4%) were attributed to 2009 H1N1. The most commonly reported underlying medical conditions among hospitalized adults were metabolic conditions, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and chronic lung disease (excluding asthma).