Flu Effects on US Health Demand


We estimate that 4Q12 saw roughly 28 more flu-related hospital admissions per 100,000 population than 4Q11; this implies a +/- 1 percent flu-related gain in health services demand yoy

The ultimate duration and severity of the current season cannot be known with any certainty; however serology offers at least some indication. Predominant serology in the current season is type A (H3N2); past H3N2 predominant seasons have been longer, more severe, and produced more hospitalizations than average

Of the 16 H3N2 seasons for which we have hospitalization estimates, the average season saw an excess of 57 hospitalizations per 100,000 persons, with a range of 26 to 103. As of the first week of January, the current season already had produced cumulative hospitalizations / 100,000 of roughly 36, well above the low end of the historic H3N2 range

Assuming 1Q13 sees cumulative hospitalizations peak anywhere between 57 and 103 per 100,000 (mean and max for prior measured H3N2 seasons), we would expect 1Q13 flu-related per-capita demand effects of between +/- 43bp and +/- 2 percent, respectively

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