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Influenza

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2017 Week 41 Flu Review Maps

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The "flu" is a common catch-all term used for a variety of illnesses, but it correctly applies only to the upper respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus.

Estimates are that between 15% and 40% of the population will develop illness from influenza every year. An average of about 36,000 people per year in the United States die from influenza, and 114,000 per year have to be admitted to the hospital as a result of influenza infection. Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems from influenza can happen at any age. People age 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, and very young children are more likely to get complications from influenza.

For the most current information about influenza in Florida, please see Florida's Weekly Surveillance Report, the Florida Flu Review. Below is a summary of the current flu review.

Summary - Week 45: November 5-11, 2017

State influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity:

•  Influenza activity has been steadily increasing over the last few weeks. In week
45:

The number of emergency department visits for pregnant women increased.

• Sharp increases in influenza activity were observed in children <18 years old. Increased influenza activity in children often precedes increased activity in other age groups and other at-risk subpopulations.

Activity among adults aged ≥65 remained above levels observed in previous seasons at this time. Seasons where influenza A (H3) predominates are typically more severe for the ≥65 age group.

•  While most counties reported mild activity, most also reported activity is increasing.

• One outbreak of influenza A was reported; 14 outbreaks of influenza and ILI have been reported since the start of the 2017-18 season.

• The majority of outbreaks reported so far this season have occurred in facilities serving at-risk subpopulations (children and adults aged ≥65).

All regions are currently in RSV season. RSV activity is high and well above previous seasons (see page 12).

National influenza activity:

• Influenza activity remains at low levels nationally.

As in Florida, influenza A (H3) has been the most common influenza subtype reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

• There is an increased risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus identification in birds as we enter the fall migratory season. HPAI has not been identified in Florida birds. No human HPAI infections have been identified in Florida or any other states.

• To learn more about HPAI, please visit: www.flordiahealth.gov/novelflu

Immunizations:

• The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of the recommendation that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) should not be used during the 2017-18 influenza season. The ACIP continues to recommend annual influenza vaccination with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) for everyone aged six months and older.

• Flu vaccines are safe and continue to be the best way to protect against the flu, those who have not yet been vaccinated for the 2017-18 influenza season should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

• To locate a flu shot near you, contact your physician, your local county health department, or use the Florida Department of Health’s flu shot locator: http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/flu-prevention/locate-a-flu-shot.html.

Treatment:

• The CDC recommends the use of antiviral treatment as soon as possible for all persons with suspected or confirmed influenza who are at higher risk for complications: children <2 years, adults age ≥65, and pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions.

• Treatment should be administered within 48 hours of illness onset.

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