11 states have ‘high’ or ‘very high’ respiratory illness: Map shows where sickness is spreading


Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct one of the states not reporting sufficient data.

(NEXSTAR) – It’s not just you – a lot of people are sick right now. Tracking by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a jump in the number of states experiencing elevated levels of respiratory illness.

A surveillance map, updated Friday, includes data through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “Seasonal influenza activity continues to increase in most parts of the country, most notably in the South Central, Southeast, Mountain, and West Coast regions,” the CDC wrote in its report.

Louisiana and South Carolina have so much flu activity, they’ve landed themselves in the most severe “very high” category.

Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Texas aren’t far behind. They are all classified as having “high” respiratory illness activity, as is New York City, which reports data separately from the rest of New York state.

Virginia and Washington, D.C. didn’t report sufficient data to the CDC during the holiday week. Both had “moderate” levels of sickness the week before.

It’s also important to note the CDC map doesn’t capture all the flu activity happening in any given community. The data is based on the number of people reporting to a health care facility with flu symptoms – fever, plus a cough or sore throat. It is not based on lab-confirmed influenza cases.

That means it could be including cases that turn out to be other respiratory illnesses, like COVID or RSV, but it also could be missing cases where people are staying home and fighting the sickness on their own.

CDC experts predict this year’s respiratory virus season will look a lot like last year. They expect the flu season, in particular, will be within the “typical range of severity.”

“However, even typical seasons vary widely in the number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths,” reads the 2023-24 forecast.

Flu shots are already available in pharmacies and doctor’s offices, and can be received at the same time as a COVID-19 booster.