NU Online News Service, Dec. 4, 2003, 5:49 p.m. EST – A top life actuary says most U.S. life insurers are well-prepared to withstand a tough influenza season.[@@]
The most recent weekly flu activity summary available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the percentage of deaths attributed to flu and a related condition, pneumonia, was relatively low during the week ending Nov. 22.
But the share of patient office visits to “sentinel providers” that were due to “flu-like illness” climbed to 3.8%, well above the national baseline level of 2.5%.
The share of office visits resulting from flu-like illness soared to 12% in the West South Central region, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, and the percentage was between 4% and 5% in the Mountain and Pacific regions.
December news reports suggest that flu has moved in earlier than usual in Colorado, Pennsylvania and other states this season.
Colorado officials have recorded 6,306 confirmed cases of flu for the season as of Wednesday. The officials say influenza has killed at least five Colorado children and might have killed a sixth.
Colorado recorded only 2,681 confirmed cases of influenza during the entire 2002-2003 flu season.
Flu kills an average of about 36,000 U.S. residents per year, according to government mortality figures.