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Influenza

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2017 Week 48 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 49: December 3-9, 2017

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

• Flu season is here, but peak activity is yet to come. In week 49:

• Visits to emergency departments among pregnant women remained well above levels observed during the previous two flu seasons at this time. Sadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that only about a third of pregnant women have been vaccinated so far. Pregnant women are among those at high risk for severe complications from influenza infection. For more information, visit: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-andconditions/influenza/_documents/other/letter-pregnant-women-2017-18.pdf

Activity among children aged <18 years increased and remained above levels observed during the previous two flu seasons at this time.

•  Eight outbreaks were reported: (3) influenza, (3) ILI, (1) rhinovirus, and (1) respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); 40 outbreaks of influenza and ILI have been reported since the start of the 2017-18 season. More outbreaks have been reported so far this season than in previous seasons at this time, which may be an early indication of a more severe influenza season.

• Statewide, RSV activity remains high and well above previous seasons (see page 13).

National influenza activity:

• Influenza activity has continued to increase and has remained above the national baseline. CDC noted that several flu activity indicators were higher than typically observed for this time of year.

• As in Florida, influenza A (H3) has been the most common influenza subtype reported to CDC. CDC has continued to report extensive genetic diversity in the HA genes of influenza A (H3) viruses submitted to CDC for phylogenetic analysis. No significant antigenic drift has been reported.

Immunizations and prevention:

• Get your flu shot now. Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications. 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: www.floridahealth.gov/findaflushot.

• Based on the data from the southern hemisphere 2017 influenza season, vaccine effectiveness (VE) for influenza A (H3N2) is anticipated to be low this year, however, good protection is expected from the influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B components of both trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines.

• In addition to getting vaccinated, the Florida Department of Health also recommends that sick people stay home and that all people exercise good handwashing practices. Please distribute the infographic displayed on page 26.

Treatment:

• CDC recommends the use of antiviral treatment as soon as possible for all persons with suspected influenza who are at higher risk for complications: children <2 years, adults age ≥65, and pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions; administer treatment within 48 hours of illness onset.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Acrobat Reader may be required to view these files.