Monday, January 28, 2013

Flu season gets worse in the West

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 5:39 PM

It’s been a bad winter for the flu already, especially since flu season doesn’t usually peak until February or March. Last week we ran a chart of how the flu spread to all 50 states, as reported by state health agencies to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the latest weekly report, there’s some good news overall — but not for the West Coast. Washington and other western states didn’t get hit as hard early on, when the flu was rampant in the South and Midwest, but now flu is getting worse western states while it’s abating elsewhere.

The CDC has a number of ways to monitor the spread and severity of the flu each year, and that’s just one of them. Another is based on the percentage of patients who show up at the doctor’s office each week with flu-like symptoms. (This is reported to the CDC by a national network of health care providers.)

Looking at that measure for this year so far, you can see how Health Region 10 — Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska — has been better off than the national average, but didn't trend downward this past week.

Here’s Region 10 compared to the other nine health regions, which makes us look pretty lucky. (That top line represents Region 6, which is Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana.)

Data source: CDC FluView portal

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About The Author

Lisa Waananen

Lisa Waananen is the web editor and a staff writer at the Inlander. She specializes in data and graphics, and her recent cover stories have been about family history, the legacy of Spokane photographer Charles A. Libby and genetically modified food...