Week 2 flu report

Flu activity remains minimal around Indiana in the second week of annual influenza surveillance.

INDIANAPOLIS — In the second week of seasonal flu tracking, the Indiana State Department of Health department is still reporting minimal activity.

Flu doesn't usually pick up until the deep winter months in December, January and February.

Week 2 numbers for the week ending Oct. 10 were still low, although they increased a little bit from the prior week.

The state recorded 71 influenza-like illnesses from its surveillance sites around the state, a slight increase from 63 cases in the first week. That activity is still rated as "minimal," same as in Week 1.

The state has recorded no flu deaths so far this season, according to the weekly report.

Of the 71 cases detected in Week 2, the majority were in working-age people age 20-64, accounting for 56 of the 71 cases. Thirty of the cases came from patients in the 5-24 age group.

The percentage of influenza-like illnesses showing up is running higher to start the year than past years, which could be due to the impact of COVID-19 having similar symptoms.From the state health department:

"COVID may be captured in the influenza-like illnesses (ILI) definition. The best way to distinguish COVID-19 from influenza is by testing. We know that the number of people testing positive for COVID is still very high at this time and that very few specimens have tested positive for influenza," the state health department stated. "The CDC is considering the ILI definition to overlap with COVID and to be capturing mild COVID illnesses."

Health District 3, which covers northeast Indiana, showed the lowest flu surveillance totals on the week.

After having no tested samples to report in the first week, the state health department lab did process some specimens in Week 2.

To date, seven samples tested for flu were all negative, with no flu-positive results recorded yet. Two of the specimens tested did contain SAR-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, however.

In the 2019-20 season, the state recorded a total of 132 deaths attributed to flu, which was average in comparison to other years. That was up from 113 deaths in 2018-19.

The worst flu season in recent history was 2017-18, when 336 deaths were recorded around the state.

Weekly flu surveillance reports from this year and previous years can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website at in.gov/isdh/22104.htm.

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