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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Influenza

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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 - Weeks 23-24: June 4-17, 2017

State influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI)¹ activity²:

• Influenza and ILI activity in Florida remained low, which is typical for this time of year.

• In weeks 23-24, one outbreak of influenza B was reported; 155 outbreaks have been reported since the start of the 2016-17 influenza season.

• In week 23, the preliminary estimated number of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza increased, although levels remain similar to those observed in previous seasons at this time.

• One influenza-associated pediatric death was reported in week 24 in a child with no known underlying health conditions. The child was positive for influenza A by rapid antigen testing and was not vaccinated for the 2016-17 influenza season.

• Eleven influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported since the start of the 2016-17 influenza season. Annual vaccination remains the best way to protect children against influenza.

• In weeks 23-24, six of the 38 (15.8%) specimens submitted to the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL) for influenza testing were positive by real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) for influenza: one influenza A (H3), one influenza A (not yet subtyped), one influenza B Yamagata lineage, and three influenza B (not yet subtyped).

• In recent weeks, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in coordination with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine announced that the University of Florida has confirmed seven cases of canine influenza A (H3N2) in dogs in Florida.

• These strains of influenza A (H3N2) are not the same as the strains circulating in people. While highly contagious in dogs, there is no evidence to suggest that canine influenza A (H3N2) infects humans. Canine influenza vaccine is available at many veterinary clinics. To learn more, please visit: http://hospitals.vetmed.ufl.edu/canine-influenza/.

National influenza activity:

• Influenza viruses continue to circulate at low levels nationally.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified an antigenically drifted influenza B Victoria lineage strain circulating nationally that is different from the strain of influenza B Victoria lineage contained in the current 2016-17 influenza vaccination formulations. This drifted strain is also different from the strain of influenza B Victoria lineage recommended for inclusion in the 2017-18 influenza vaccination formulations.

• In the spring of 2017, avian influenza A (H7N9) was identified in chickens in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky, avian influenza A (H7) was identified in chickens in Georgia, and avian influenza A (H5N2) was identified in turkeys in Wisconsin. 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.

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