Flu week 31

In the second-to-last week of flu monitoring for the 2021-22 season, flu numbers were at “minimal” levels, typical as flu fades away on the approach of summer.

INDIANAPOLIS — As expected for May, flu rates remained at minimal levels in the second-to-last week of monitoring in the 2021-22 season.

With warmer weather in place, flu typically subsides to nothing at this time of year.

In the 31st week of flu monitoring for the week ending May 14, rates of “influenza-like illness” reported by sentinel outpost providers were 1.47%, down from 1.53% a week ago.

The report includes 806 reports of flu-like illnesses.

The rate of influenza-like illness reported at emergency rooms and urgent care centers dropped to 1.49%, down from 1.54% a week ago.

Rates are currently at about the same point they are every time this year as flu fades upon the arrival of summer. Over the past decade, flu rates have always been below 2% by this point in May.

The 2021-22 season was one of the mildest over the last decade, with flu numbers ticking up a little early in the year but then spending most of the season in “minimal” territory.

Outside of last year’s very mild 2020-21 season, during which mitigation efforts were in place for COVID-19, this season was among the lowest in recent history. The 2015-16 had some lower early-season figures compared to this year, but then had a spring surge in March that this season did not have.

Indiana has recorded 48 deaths attributable to flu this year, which is below normal but much higher than a year ago.

Of those deaths, 29 were people age 65 or older, 10 were in the 50-64 range, six between ages 25-49, two in the 5-24 age group and one in the under 5 age group.

Indiana typically sees more than 100 flu deaths per year, ranging between about 70-150 in an average year. In good years, that number can be lower than 10 deaths, as happened last season, but can top 300 deaths caused by flu in particularly bad years.

Flu is most dangerous to the elderly, people who are immuno-compromised, children under 5 years old — especially those 6 months old and younger — and pregnant women.

Weekly flu reports can be found online at in.gov/health/erc/infectious-disease-epidemiology/diseases-and-conditions-resource-page/weekly-influenza-reports/.

Next week will be the final report of the 2021-22 season and conclude flu surveillance. Surveillance for the 2022-23 season will begin in October.

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