ATLANTA, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Influenza activity remained low in the United States into late October, but was spreading in the South, federal health officials say.
Of the 3,241 specimens tested during the week ending Oct. 26, 4.5 percent were positive for influenza, the U.S. World Health Organization and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System collaborating laboratories found.
Nationwide, 1.2 percent of patient visits to doctors were due to influenza-like illness. Influenza-like illness is defined as fever, or a temperature of 100 degrees F or greater, cough and/or sore throat.
Influenza-like illness activity levels range from minimal, which would correspond to influenza-like illness activity from outpatient clinics being below average, to intense, which corresponds to activity from outpatient clinics being much higher than average.
Three states experienced low influenza-like illness activity -- Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas -- while 47 states and New York City experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity.
Influenza activity reported by states indicates geographic spread of influenza viruses, but does not measure the severity of influenza activity.
Regional influenza activity was reported by Puerto Rico and Alabama.
Local influenza activity was reported by Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Sporadic influenza activity was reported by Guam and 30 states, while no influenza activity was reported by 15 states.