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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 11: March 12-18, 2017
State influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity:
• Florida reported widespread activity to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the tenth week in a row.
• In week 11, influenza activity in Florida decreased. Preliminary data suggest that influenza activity has peaked this season, however, elevated influenza activity is expected for several more weeks.
• Statewide, the percent of emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) visits for ILI decreased, but remained elevated.
• Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity in children <5 years old remained the same and was above levels observed in previous seasons at this time (see page 12).
• In week 10, 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 11, no influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported.
• Four 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.
• Fifteen counties reported moderate influenza activity, 49 counties reported mild influenza activity, and three counties reported no influenza activity.
• Four influenza or ILI outbreaks were reported. A total of 122 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).
National influenza activity:
• In recent weeks, influenza and ILI activity decreased dramatically overall. In week 10, levels increased slightly and remained above those observed in previous seasons at this time. The majority of states, including Florida, continued to report widespread influenza activity.
• In recent weeks, influenza A (H3) has been the most common subtype reported to CDC by public health laboratories across the nation.
• Seasons in which influenza A (H3) predominates have been associated with more severe illness, particularly in young children and adults ≥65 years old.
• 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.
• Avian influenza A (H7N9) was recently identified in Tennessee and Alabama chickens.
• 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 Wisconsin turkeys.
• This is the first identification of H5N2 in domestic poultry in the U.S. in 2017.