Pennsylvania flu epidemic winding down

The flu epidemic news for Pennsylvania residents from week 7 of 2013 is good. Nearly every indicators is showing that the number of influenza cases are in rapid decline in the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Health released the weekly seasonal influenza outbreak report on Feb. 21, for the week ending Feb. 16.

(’s influenza epidemic appears to have peaked around the second week of January. For week seven, the percentage of visits for the flu to doctors has fallen to the state’s baseline of 2.4 percent. The week saw 111 hospitalizations for flu and flu complications compared to the peak of 577 patients hospitalized in the week ending Jan. 12.

The state saw 14 influenza deaths in week seven, bringing the total since Oct. 1 to 154. The majority of flu deaths, 134 to date, were in patients over age 65. The state’s elderly also account for 70 percent of all flu hospitalizations despite presenting with just 23 percent of all influenza cases.

A mobile tent is set up to handle the recent influx of flu cases by the Lehigh Valley Health Network's main hospital campus January 11, 2013 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Two Pennsylvania counties have reported over 2,000 confirmed cases of influenza. Allegheny County, and the city of Pittsburgh, have seen 2,703 flu cases confirmed while Lehigh County, and the city of Allentown, has reported 2,675. The state in total has laboratory confirmations for 34,090 cases of flu.

Philadelphia city and county leads the state in reported influenza deaths, with 17. Pittsburgh and Allegheny County rank second with 12 flu fatalities. Despite the high number of confirmed flu cases, Lehigh County has seen just five deaths.