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A Late-Season Flu Comeback?

February 05, 2024

After a few weeks of declines, the flu is showing signs that it’s not quite ready to go away in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

The latest national data from the CDC indicates that the number of flu cases is ticking up slightly following a steady decline after the holidays. Markers for COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) also are decreasing but are still worth monitoring, public health leaders say.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • By the numbers:  Clinical lab test positivity for the flu increased to 16.2 percent, up about 2 percentage points from the following week.
    • The CDC estimates there have been 20 million illnesses, 230,000 hospitalizations, and 14,000 deaths from flu so far this season.
  • Statewide:  In Pennsylvania, there have been 83,700 cases and 181 reported deaths. There also has been a recent increase influenza B, which often occurs in late winter.
    • Pennsylvania’s weekly cases (7,310) increased slightly week over week.
  • Hospitalizations:  In Pennsylvania, about 12 percent of emergency department patients have respiratory symptoms, down from the peak of 19 percent during the last week of 2023.
  • Vaccination:  About 47 percent of American adults have received the flu vaccine this year, including about 50 percent of Pennsylvania adults.
  • Quotable:  “Vaccination is effective at preventing the most severe complication of flu," Dr. Kris Bryant, from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, told USA Today. "In some years, we see flu cases throughout the spring. It is not too late to receive a flu shot."

HAP continues to monitor the latest updates on respiratory virus season and provide updates to members. More information about finding flu vaccines in your community is available online.