Michigan Association of Health Plans

Flu cases in Michigan up this week but still lower than a year ago

While the flu numbers in Michigan are up over last week, they remain considerably lower than a year ago.

A total of 31 patient visits due to influenza like illness (ILI) was reported out of 4,443 office visits in Michigan for the week ended Jan 9. That is a 0.7 ILI activity rate for the state which is more than tripled from 0.2 percent last week.

A year ago on Jan. 11, 2020, it was at 2.6 percent when there were 386 patient visits out of 14,917 office visits.

Comparatively, the number nationally is 1.7 percent of outpatient visits which is up from 1.6 percent last week and substantially lower than it was a year ago when it stood at 4.7 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that seasonal flu activity is lower than usual this year nationally.

ILI is defined as a fever (higher than 100 degrees) and a cough and/or a sore throat without a known cause other than influenza.

Nationally one pediatric death due to the flu has been confirmed for the 2020-2021 flu season. No pediatric deaths have been reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

If you have flu symptoms and are at high risk of serious flu complications, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Your provider may decide to treat you with flu antiviral medications.

A flu shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older with rare exceptions. It is not too late to be vaccinated.

To find a place near you for a flu vaccine go to Michigan.gov/flu. Many drug store chains and retailers offer flu shots.

Michigan’s goal is to vaccinate more than 4.3 million residents during the 2020-2021 flu season. As of Jan. 9, there have been 3,236,487 million doses administered (74.68% towards goal).

According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Press, read more here.