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U.S. flu activity low, except in Mississippi, parts of the South

  |   Nov. 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM
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ATLANTA, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- For the week ending Nov. 16, flu activity was high in Mississippi, but low overall across most of the nation, federal health officials say.

The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like illness remains below the national baseline, but again this week, one region -- Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas -- was above baseline influenza activity. Baseline influenza activity is the level that clinical influenza activity remains throughout the summer.

Mississippi experienced high influenza-like illness activity -- the first report of high influenza-like illness activity this season. Alabama and Texas experienced moderate influenza-like illness; Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma experienced low influenza-like illness activity and 42 states and New York City experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity. Influenza-like illness activity data indicate the amount of flu-like illness that is occurring in each state.

Nationally, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in the United States during the week increased from 5.8 percent to 7 percent. In any one the 10 U.S. regions the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses ranged from 1.2 percent to 12.6 percent.

Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Texas reported regional geographic influenza activity. Geographic spread data show how many areas within a state or territory are seeing flu activity. Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina reported local activity and 34 states reported sporadic influenza activity.

Three states -- Missouri, Vermont and New Hampshire -- reported no influenza activity.

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