Walgreens Flu Index heat map indicates season slow down

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Walgreens Flu Index heat map indicates season slow down

By Michael Johnsen - 02/14/2018
Oklahoma City continues to top the Walgreens Flu Index for the week ended Feb. 10, Walgreens stated Wednesday, followed by the Dallas area and Knoxville, Tenn. The most gains in flu incidence were found in the Newport News area of Virginia and Tennessee markets Nashville and Memphis.

But strictly judging by the coloring of Walgreens' heat map, which last week was a sea of mostly oranges and reds, the national incidence of influenza illnesses may have reached its peak. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the percentage of doctor's visits attributed to influenza-like activity topped out at 7.7%, which is the highest since the 2003/2004 season.

The top 10 Walgreens designated market areas with flu activity for the week ending Feb. 10 were:

  1. Oklahoma City;

  2. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas;

  3. Knoxville, Tenn.;

  4. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);

  5. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas;

  6. Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas;

  7. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.;

  8. Montgomery-Selma, Ala.;

  9. Tulsa, Okla.; and

  10. Shreveport, La.

The top 10 markets by flu activity gains for the week were:

  1. Nashville, Tenn.;

  2. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.;

  3. Memphis, Tenn.;

  4. Evansville, Ind.;

  5. Omaha, Neb.;

  6. Shreveport, La.;

  7. Reno, Nev.;

  8. Youngstown, Ohio;

  9. Anchorage, Alaska; and

  10. Louisville, Ky.

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranks those states and markets experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. The Flu Index provides insight by showing which cities or metropolitan areas are experiencing the most incidences of influenza each week based on Index methodology. The data does not measure actual levels or severity of flu activity.

The Walgreens Flu Index is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide, including Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.