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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 15: April 9-15, 2017
State influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity:
• Florida reported regional activity to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in week 15.
• In week 15, influenza activity in Florida decreased. Statewide, influenza activity this season peaked in week 8 (late-February). Influenza activity in South Florida peaked earlier than the rest of the state in week 52 (late-December).
• Statewide, the percent of emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) visits for ILI decreased and was similar to levels observed in previous seasons at this time.
• Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity in children <5 years old decreased but remained above levels observed in previous seasons at this time (see page 12).
• In week 14, the preliminary estimated number of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) decreased and was similar to levels seen in previous seasons at this time.
• In week 15, one influenza-associated pediatric death was reported.
• Eight influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported so far this season in Florida. While rare, Florida receives reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths each season.
• Eleven counties reported moderate influenza activity, 50 counties reported mild influenza activity, and six counties reported no influenza activity.
• Five influenza or ILI outbreaks were reported. A total of 143 outbreaks of influenza or ILI have been reported so far this season.
• Since the start of the 2016-17 influenza season, the most common influenza subtype detected at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL) statewide has been influenza A (H3). In recent weeks, the percent of specimens testing positive for influenza B increased. This trend has also been observed nationally. This late-season circulation of influenza B is expected.
National influenza activity:
• In recent weeks, influenza and ILI activity decreased dramatically overall. In week 14, ILI activity decreased but remained above levels observed in previous seasons at this time. The majority of states reported widespread or regional activity. In week 14, Florida reported regional activity.
• In recent weeks, influenza B viruses have been the most frequently identified virus type by public health laboratories across the nation.
• Avian influenza A (H7N9) was recently identified in chickens in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. Avian influenza A (H7) was also recently identified in chickens in Georgia.
• These strains of H7N9 are not the same as the strain circulating in China.
• These are the first identifications of H7N9 in domestic poultry in the U.S. in 2017.
• Avian influenza A (H5N2) was also recently identified in turkeys in Wisconsin.
• This is the first identification of H5N2 in domestic poultry in the U.S. in 2017.
• No avian influenza has been identified in Florida birds or humans so far in 2017.
• To learn more about HPAI, please visit: www.floridahealth.gov/novelflu.