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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 47: November 20-26, 2016

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

• In week 47, influenza activity increased slightly, but remains at low levels across the state.

• The percent of emergency department (ED) and urgent care center (UCC) visits for ILI increased and is similar to levels seen in previous seasons at this time.

• Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity in children <5 years old decreased, and is similar to levels observed in previous seasons at this time. One RSV-associated pediatric death was identified.

• For more information on RSV activity in Florida, see page 11.

• In week 46, the preliminary estimated number of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) decreased and is slightly below levels seen in previous seasons at this time.

In week 47, no influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported.

• No influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported so far this season.

• Annual vaccination remains the best way to protect children against influenza infection. Now is a great time to get your annual vaccine.

• Two counties reported ‘moderate’ influenza activity, 45 counties reported ‘mild’ influenza activity and 20 counties reported no influenza activity.

• One outbreak of influenza was reported in a Duval County long-term care facility. A total of four outbreaks of influenza and ILI have been reported this flu season.

• Since the start of the 2016-17 influenza season, the most common influenza subtype detected at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL) has been influenza A (H3).

National influenza activity:

• Influenza activity continues to circulate at low levels nationally. In recent weeks, influenza and ILI activity increased, but remained below the national baseline.

• While the timing and severity of influenza seasons vary and are unpredictable, flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

• In recent weeks, influenza A (H3) has been the most common subtype reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by public health laboratories across the nation.

In recent weeks, influenza A (H3) has been the most common subtype reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by public health laboratories across the nation.

• Seasons in which influenza A (H3) predominates have been associated with more severe illness, particularly in adults >65.

• CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone >6 months old. People who have not been vaccinated against influenza should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

• Getting your annual flu vaccine aids in the protection of others who are more vulnerable to serious influenza complications, such as pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people with chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes. Influenza can be more serious for these individuals and the best way to protect them is by getting your flu vaccine every year.

In week 46, one human infection with novel influenza A virus was reported in Iowa. The individual was infected with influenza A (H1N2)v after close contact with swine. The individual was not hospitalized and has fully recovered. No person-to-person transmission has been identified.

• There is increased risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 virus identification in birds as we enter the fall 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 one wild duck in Alaska has tested positive for HPAI H5 since November 2015. No human HPAI infections have been identified in Florida or other states.

• To learn more about HPAI, please visit:

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