Contact the Florida Department of Health
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 1: January 1-7, 2017
State influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI) activity:
• Influenza season is here. Florida reported regional activity to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the second consecutive week.
• In week 1, influenza activity in Florida remained elevated overall, indicating the start of the influenza season.
• Statewide, the percent of emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) decreased slightly, however, the percent of ED and UCC visits for ILI among adults ≥65 years old increased and was above peak levels observed in the 2014-13 and 2015-16 influenza seasons..
• Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity in children <5 years old decreased and was similar to levels observed in the 2015-16 season at this time.
• For more information on RSV activity in Florida, see page 11.
• In week 52, the preliminary estimated number of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) decreased and was below levels seen in previous seasons at this time.
• One influenza-associated pediatric death was reported. The child had no known underlying health conditions and no reported vaccination for the 2016-17 influenza season.
• This is the first influenza-associated pediatric death reported so far this season. While rare, Florida receives reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths each season.
• Annual vaccination remains the best way to protect children against influenza infection. It is not too late to vaccinate children for the 2016-17 influenza season. If you have not gotten vaccinated yet, you should get vaccinated now.
• Ten counties reported moderate influenza activity, 51 counties reported mild influenza activity, and six counties reported no influenza activity.
• Five ILI or influenza outbreaks were reported: three outbreaks of influenza A and two outbreaks of ILI were reported in facilities serving adults ≥65 years old. A total of 22 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 increased nationally. In week 52, levels were above the national baseline for the third consecutive week. Twelve states reported widespread influenza activity.
• While the timing and severity of influenza seasons vary and are unpredictable, influenza activity is expected to increase further in the coming weeks.
• 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.
• CDC recommends annual vaccination for everyone ≥6 months old. People who have not been vaccinated against influenza should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
• There is increased risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 virus identification in birds during the fall and winter migratory season. HPAI H5 has not been identified in Florida birds and would be expected to be seen in more northerly states first, but identifications are possible. To date, only two wild ducks have tested positive for HPAI H5 since August 2016; one was identified in Alaska in August and the second was just identified in Montana. No human HPAI infections have been identified in Florida or other states.
• To learn more about HPAI, please visit: www.floridahealth.gov/novelflu.