Special Report

How Bad Is the Flu Season in Every State?

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during its latest reporting week that the flu is “widespread in most of the country.”

An estimated 6 to 7 million people have been sick with the flu so far this season, and between 69,000 and 84,000 have been hospitalized. Though these figures are high and the flu season has not yet peaked, this year’s flu season is unlikely to be as bad as last year’s unusually bad season.

In fact, while influenza-like-illnesses this time last year were sharply on the rise, eventually reaching levels last seen during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the number of states experiencing high flu levels dropped last week compared to the week before.

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To identify the incidence of the flu in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the latest weekly influenza surveillance report prepared by the influenza division of the CDC. Influenza-like illness activity levels (minimal, low, moderate, and high) are based on the difference between current and off-season average proportions of outpatient visits to health providers for flu-like illnesses.

It is important to note that outbreaks occurring in a single city can cause a state to display high activity levels, and data collected may disproportionately represent certain populations within a state and therefore may not accurately capture influenza activity for the whole state.

The percentage of outpatient visits with flu-like illnesses so far this flu season (Oct. 1, 2017 through Jan. 5, 2019) was calculated by 24/7 Wall St. using data reported weekly to the CDC.

Activity levels for states are measured against regional off-season average patient visits for flu-like illnesses. Across the 10 geographical regions the CDC defines, these off-season baselines range from 1.1% of patients in the Seattle region (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) to 3.1% in the New York region (New Jersey and New York). Activity levels are as of the first week of January, and measure the percentage of current outpatients reporting flu and flu-like illnesses compared to such reports over the past non-flu seasons. States with high activity levels are those where flu cases have exceeded the respective baseline by the most.

Each state’s 65 and over population was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.

Click here to see how bad the flu season is in every state.

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1. Alabama
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.9% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.5% (22nd highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.9% (19th lowest)

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2. Alaska
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): N/A
> 65 and over population: 11.2% (2nd lowest)
> 5 and under population: 7.2% (2nd highest)

See all stories featuring: Alaska

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3. Arizona
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.3% of patients
> 65 and over population: 17.1% (11th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.2% (20th highest)

See all stories featuring: Arizona

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4. Arkansas
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.1% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 4.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.5% (19th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.2% (18th highest)

See all stories featuring: Arkansas

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5. California
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.0% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.3% of patients
> 65 and over population: 13.9% (6th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.2% (17th highest)

See all stories featuring: California

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6. Colorado
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 13.8% (5th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 5.9% (21st lowest)

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7. Connecticut
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.8% (14th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.1% (4th lowest)

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8. Delaware
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.4% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 18.0% (6th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.7% (11th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Delaware

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9. Florida
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): N/A
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 20.1% (the highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.4% (7th lowest)

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10. Georgia
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 4.2% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 13.4% (4th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.3% (15th highest)

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11. Hawaii
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.0% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.3% of patients
> 65 and over population: 17.8% (8th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.3% (16th highest)

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12. Idaho
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.1% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.3% (14th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.8% (7th highest)

See all stories featuring: Idaho

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13. Illinois
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.2% (12th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.0% (23rd lowest)

See all stories featuring: Illinois

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14. Indiana
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.4% (16th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.3% (14th highest)

See all stories featuring: Indiana

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15. Iowa
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.6% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.7% (16th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.3% (13th highest)

See all stories featuring: Iowa

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16. Kansas
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.6% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.4% (18th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.6% (9th highest)

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17. Kentucky
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.9% (24th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.2% (19th highest)

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18. Louisiana
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.9% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 4.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 14.9% (7th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.5% (11th highest)

See all stories featuring: Louisiana

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19. Maine
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.1% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 20.0% (2nd highest)
> 5 and under population: 4.8% (2nd lowest)

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20. Maryland
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 14.9% (8th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.0% (24th lowest)

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21. Massachusetts
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.1% (24th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.3% (6th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Massachusetts

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22. Michigan
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.4% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.7% (15th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.7% (12th lowest)

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23. Minnesota
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.1% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.4% (19th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.3% (12th highest)

See all stories featuring: Minnesota

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24. Mississippi
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.1% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.6% (20th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.1% (24th highest)

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25. Missouri
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.6% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.5% (20th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.1% (23rd highest)

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26. Montana
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.9% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 18.1% (5th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.8% (17th lowest)

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27. Nebraska
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.8% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.6% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.4% (17th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.9% (6th highest)

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28. Nevada
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.0% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.3% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.3% (15th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.1% (22nd highest)

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29. New Hampshire
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 17.6% (9th highest)
> 5 and under population: 4.7% (the lowest)

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30. New Jersey
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 3.1% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.7% (22nd lowest)
> 5 and under population: 5.8% (15th lowest)

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31. New Mexico
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.2% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 4.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.8% (13th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.1% (25th highest)

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32. New York
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 3.1% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.9% (25th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 5.8% (16th lowest)

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33. North Carolina
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.9% (23rd lowest)
> 5 and under population: 5.9% (18th lowest)

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34. North Dakota
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.1% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 14.9% (9th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 7.0% (4th highest)

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35. Ohio
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.0% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.6% (18th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.0% (22nd lowest)

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36. Oklahoma
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.2% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 4.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.3% (13th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.7% (8th highest)

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37. Oregon
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.2% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.1% of patients
> 65 and over population: 17.1% (12th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.6% (10th lowest)

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38. Pennsylvania
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 17.8% (7th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.5% (9th lowest)

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39. Rhode Island
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.7% (17th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.2% (5th lowest)

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40. South Carolina
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.8% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 17.2% (10th highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.8% (13th lowest)

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41. South Dakota
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.7% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.3% (23rd highest)
> 5 and under population: 7.0% (5th highest)

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42. Tennessee
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.4% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.9% (25th highest)
> 5 and under population: 6.0% (25th lowest)

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43. Texas
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 3.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 4.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 12.2% (3rd lowest)
> 5 and under population: 7.1% (3rd highest)

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44. Utah
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.4% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 10.8% (the lowest)
> 5 and under population: 8.2% (the highest)

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45. Vermont
> Flu-like illness activity level: Moderate
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.4% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 18.8% (4th highest)
> 5 and under population: 4.8% (3rd lowest)

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46. Virginia
> Flu-like illness activity level: High
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 2.5% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.0% (10th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 5.9% (20th lowest)

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47. Washington
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 0.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.1% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.1% (11th lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.1% (21st highest)

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48. West Virginia
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.2% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.0% of patients
> 65 and over population: 19.3% (3rd highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.4% (8th lowest)

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49. Wisconsin
> Flu-like illness activity level: Low
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.6% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 1.8% of patients
> 65 and over population: 16.5% (21st highest)
> 5 and under population: 5.8% (14th lowest)

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50. Wyoming
> Flu-like illness activity level: Minimal
> Flu-like symptoms so far this flu season (Oct 1- Jan 5): 1.2% of patients
> Flu-like symptoms in offseason (regional): 2.2% of patients
> 65 and over population: 15.6% (21st lowest)
> 5 and under population: 6.5% (10th highest)

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