Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Flu Activity Now ‘Very High' in Both Illinois and Indiana, CDC Says

Along with Indiana and Illinois, at least 43 other states are reporting "high" or "very high" flu activity, according to the CDC.

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the weather gets colder, flu season is worsening, and both Illinois and Indiana are no exception.

Influenza activity is considered to be "very high" in both states based on the most recent data from the week ending Nov. 26, according to a Weekly Influenza Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Activity was "low" in Illinois until the week of Oct. 22 when it climbed to "moderate," as shown on past weekly reports. Levels remained "moderate" for approximately two weeks until reaching the "high" threshold the week ending Nov. 5. The week of Nov. 26 marked the first at "very high" status.

Indiana experienced "low" activity a few weeks longer and didn't enter the "moderate" category until the week ending Nov. 5, data showed. The following week the state climbed to "high" before the week of Nov. 26, when it reached the "very high" category for the first time.

At least 43 other states are reporting "high" or "very high" flu activity, according to the CDC.

Chicago, too, is experiencing an uptick in influenza, with the city reporting "sharp increases" in cases as of Friday compared to previous years, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Dr. Allison Arwady, CDPH commissioner, explained while increases in respiratory viruses were expected, she and other health officials remain focused on avoiding "high" COVID community level status - preserving the hospital system and protecting people from the worst possible outcomes.

When it comes to those at high risk for influenza, such as young children and older adults, vaccination is strongly encouraged to prevent severe illness or even death.

The annual winter flu season usually doesn’t get going until December or January, but this one began early and has been complicated by the simultaneous spread of other viruses, such as COVID-19 and RSV.

Health officials said Friday that 7.5% of outpatient medical visits last week were due to flu-like illnesses. That’s as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season and higher than any season since.

The measure of traffic in doctor’s offices is based on reports of symptoms like coughs and sore throats, not on lab-confirmed diagnoses. So it may include other respiratory illnesses.

That makes it hard to compare to flu seasons from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Other years also didn’t have this year’s unusually strong wave of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, a common cause of cold-like symptoms that can be serious for infants and the elderly.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
Contact Us