Flu week 5

Flu activity across Indiana remains minimal during the first week of November, which is typical.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is still seeing minimal spread of flu as the state entered November.

That’s still normal for this time of year, as activity doesn’t typically begin to spike until December.

For the week ended Nov. 6, flu activity was rated “minimal,” the lowest rating, for another week.

Flu rates reported by sentinel outpatient providers was 1.5% in the fifth week of surveillance, which was up about a quarter percentage point from the week prior, but still below benchmarks.

Typically, rates remain below the 2% line in fall and then tend to rise in December, running higher through March or April before dropping back below the 2% benchmark again as warmer weather returns.

The rate of influenza-like illness reports at emergency rooms and urgent care centers was also low at 1.44%, which is also up compared to a week ago.

Indiana Health District 3, which covers northeast Indiana, is showing the lowest flu activity among state regions at the time, with other parts of the state showing slightly higher rates.

Indiana had no new flu deaths reported this week, with the season total remaining at one so far this year. The state also had one other flu-attributed death that occurred before the official monitoring season that opens at the beginning of October.

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.

The state did test its first flu-positive sample at the Indiana State Department of Health lab this week, with the sample showing the Influenza A/H3 seasonal virus. Other samples the state lab tested this week were negative for flu viruses.

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

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