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Influenza

Contact the Florida Department of Health


Week 15: April 8-14, 2018

2017 Week 50 Flu Review Maps

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

• In week 15, influenza and ILI activity continued to decrease and remained at normal levels for this time of the season. Data indicate influenza activity peaked during week 5 (ending February 3, 2018).

• No new influenza-associated pediatric deaths were confirmed. Eight influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been confirmed so far in the 2017-18 influenza season.

• Deaths due to pneumonia and influenza were below expected levels.

• Two outbreaks of influenza or ILI were reported: one with laboratory confirmation of influenza and one ILI. As of week 15 (ending April 14, 2018), 490 outbreaks of influenza and ILI have been reported since the start of the 2017-18 season.

• The Florida Department of Health is conducting enhanced surveillance of intensive-care unit (ICU) patients aged <65 with laboratory-confirmed influenza. In week 15, 13 cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases reported up to 360 since February 1, 2018. Of the 233 cases with known vaccination status, the majority (69%) were unvaccinated individuals. Of the 357 cases with medical histories available, the majority (89%) had underlying medical conditions.

Treatment:

• In severe seasons like this one, the use of antivirals is especially important.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of antiviral treatment as soon as possible for all hospitalized, severely ill, and people who are at higher risk for complications with suspect influenza: children <2 years old, adults ≥65 years old, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions. Administer treatment within 48 hours of illness onset (but treatment administered after this period can still be beneficial). A recent CDC health advisory stresses the importance of rapid and early antiviral treatment this season. Visit: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/influenza/_documents/cdc-han-influenza-12-27-2017.pdf.

• Clinicians should not wait for laboratory confirmation to administer antivirals to people with suspect influenza.

Immunizations and prevention:

• The Florida Department of Health recommends that sick people stay home until fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and that all people use good handwashing practices.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination now and as long as influenza viruses are circulating. To find a flu shot near you, visit: www.floridahealth.gov/findaflushot. Flu vaccines are also available at your local county health department.

National influenza activity:

• Influenza activity decreased and was below the national baseline.

• As in Florida, influenza A (H3) has been the most common strain of influenza identified for the season, however, influenza B viruses have been more frequently reported than influenza A viruses since early March.

• This late-season circulation of influenza B is expected.

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. To locate a flu shot near you, contact your physician, your local county health department, or use the Florida Department of Health's flu shot locator.

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.

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