Will the Flu Arrive by October 2022?
According to the latest U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the 2022-2023 influenza viruses have yet to arrive in the USA.
While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round, the exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary. Influenza activity often increases in October, with peak activity between December and February, says the CDC.
In the CDC's Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, published on September 2, 2022, the results of 10,805 influenza tests performed by public health laboratories nationwide identified only 40 positive specimens.
Nationwide during week #34, about 1.8% of patient visits were due to respiratory illness that included fever plus a cough or sore throat, also referred to as Influenza-like Illness (ILI).
The CDC says multiple respiratory viruses are co-circulating, and the relative contribution of influenza virus infection to ILI varies by location.
Moreover, the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance data available on September 1, 2022, about 9.2% of the deaths that occurred during week #34 were due to pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 (PIC).
Among the 2,117 PIC deaths reported last week, 1,120 had COVID-19 listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death on the death certificate, 898 had pneumonia listed, and just eight listed influenza.
This data indicates that current PIC mortality is due primarily to COVID-19 and pneumonia, but not influenza.
Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Influenza Update N° 426, which concluded, 'In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, overall influenza activity appeared to decrease during this reporting period.'
The WHO stated, 'Various measures implemented by the Member States to reduce SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus transmission have likely played a role in reducing influenza virus transmission.'
Given the apparent lull in influenza activity, a common question is 'when should people get their annual flu shot?'
The good news is over 100 million vaccines for the 2022-2023 flu season have already arrived in the USA.
The CDC confirmed on August 23, 2022, 'The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is for most people six months and older to get vaccinated yearly.'
September and October are generally good times to get vaccinated for most people who need only one dose for the season.
While ideally, it's recommended to get vaccinated by the end of October, it's essential to know that vaccination after October can still protect during the peak of flu season, says the CDC.
As with every vaccination, the best immunization decisions are made between a person and their doctors, nurse, or pharmacists.
Additional flu shot news is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Flu.
Note: These CDC and WHO data are preliminary and may change as more data are received and processed.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes fact-checked, research-based vaccine news curated for mobile readership.