December 25, 2018 (Infection Control Today)
Influenza activity has increased and is elevated in the United States, according to FluView’s report this week. The CDC has officially issued the beginning of the 2018-2019 influenza season as for the last four weeks in a row, the number of individuals going to see their health care providers for influenza-like symptoms is at or above the national baseline.
Widespread flu activity has been reported in six states including, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New York. Reports of regional or local flu activity are being reported by 37 states, which means that these states are having an influx of flu outbreaks and lab-confirmed flu “in at least half of the regions of the state (widespread activity), in at least two regions but less than half of the regions of the state (regional activity), and in a single region (local activity).”
On a national basis, influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 have been the most common flu viruses identified. In the last three weeks, however, influenza A (H3) viruses were the most common in the southeastern area of the United States. One flu-associated pediatric death has occurred during the 2018-2019 flu season so far.
The best way to prevent the flu and its complication is through vaccination. Benefits of vaccination include, reducing the likelihood of contracting the flu, reducing doctor visits, reducing hospitalization, and reducing death among children. The CDC is recommending that anyone 6 months and older who have not been vaccinated yet to go get vaccinated now.
Key flu indicators summaries are available for the week ending Dec. 15, 2018 and include information on influenza-like illness surveillance, influenza- like state activity indicator map, geographical speak of influenza viruses, flu-associated hospitalization, mortality surveillance, pediatric deaths, and laboratory data.