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 - Weeks 27-28: July 3-16, 2016
State influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity:
• In recent weeks, emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) ILI visits reported into ESSENCE-FL2 (Florida’s syndromic surveillance system) decreased and remained similar to levels observed in previous seasons at this time.
• In recent weeks, the preliminary estimated number of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza in Florida decreased and is similar to levels
observed in previous seasons at this time.
• No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in weeks 27-28.
• Eight influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported since the start of the 2015-2016 influenza season. While rare, Florida receives reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths each season. Annual vaccination remains the best way to protect children against influenza.
• In weeks 27 and 28, three of five (38%) specimens submitted to the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL2) for influenza testing were PCR positive for seasonal strains of influenza: two influenza B Yamagata lineage and one influenza B Victoria lineage.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) activity:
• Four cases of EV-D68 have been identified in Florida since February 2016. The four cases were identified in different regions of the state and represent the full spectrum of disease. These represent the first identifications of EV-D68 in the United States since the fall of 2014.
• To learn more about EV-D68, please visit: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/d68.
National influenza activity:
• Influenza viruses continue to circulate at low levels nationally.
• The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of an interim recommendation that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) should not be used during the 2016-2017 influenza season. This recommendation follows data indicating poor or relatively lower effectiveness of LAIV between 2013 and 2016. 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.
• While highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 virus identification in birds are expected later this year, that risk is lower in the summer months. Influenza (HPAI) H5 has not been identified in Florida birds yet, but identifications are anticipated. No human HPAI infections have been identified in Florida or other states. To learn more about HPAI, please visit: www.floridahealth.gov/novelflu.