Estimates of deaths associated with seasonal influenza --- United States, 1976-2007

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Aug 27;59(33):1057-62.


Influenza infections are associated with thousands of deaths every year in the United States, with the majority of deaths from seasonal influenza occurring among adults aged >or=65 years. For several decades, CDC has made annual estimates of influenza-associated deaths, which have been used in influenza research and to develop influenza control and prevention policy. To update previously published estimates of the numbers and rates of influenza-associated deaths during 1976-2003 by adding four influenza seasons through 2006-07, CDC used statistical models with data from death certificate reports. National mortality data for two categories of underlying cause of death codes, pneumonia and influenza causes and respiratory and circulatory causes, were used in regression models to estimate lower and upper bounds for the number of influenza-associated deaths. Estimates by seasonal influenza virus type and subtype were examined to determine any association between virus type and subtype and the number of deaths in a season. This report summarizes the results of these analyses, which found that, during 1976-2007, estimates of annual influenza-associated deaths from respiratory and circulatory causes (including pneumonia and influenza causes) ranged from 3,349 in 1986-87 to 48,614 in 2003-04. The annual rate of influenza-associated death in the United States overall during this period ranged from 1.4 to 16.7 deaths per 100,000 persons. The findings also indicated the wide variation in the estimated number of deaths from season to season was closely related to the particular influenza virus types and subtypes in circulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death Certificates
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype*
  • Influenza, Human / complications
  • Influenza, Human / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mortality / trends
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • United States / epidemiology