CDC, State Health Departments Watching Flu Activity Closely
The federal agency's most recent FluView report indicates flu activity is high overall across the country and will remain so for some time.
CDC and state health departments across the country are keeping a wary eye on influenza activity and reminding Americans who have not yet received a flu vaccine why they should get one. CDC's FluView report for the week of Jan. 5-11 showed that all 10 HHS surveillance regions reported influenza-like illness activity above their region-specific baseline level for the week.
Kentucky's Department for Public Health informed CDC during that was the flu activity in the commonwealth had increased from regional to widespread, which is the highest level of flu activity and indicates increased activity or outbreaks in at least half of the region. "With current widespread flu activity being reported in Kentucky and across much of the nation, now is a good time to protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated for flu," said Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, M.D., commissioner of DPH. "We are strongly urging anyone who hasn't received a flu vaccine, particularly those at high risk for complications related to the flu, to check with their health care provider, local health department, or pharmacy about vaccine availability."
Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer, announced Jan. 17 that confirmed flu-related deaths in the state had increased to 45 for this season. "Flu activity continues to increase statewide, including reports of hospitalizations, severe disease and the number of deaths," he said. "We are clearly in the midst of what appears to be an earlier-peaking, severe flu season, and I encourage everyone who has not yet gotten a flu vaccination to do so. The influenza vaccine remains the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu." There is no shortage of flu vaccine in California, according to the department, which has about 50,000 state-purchased doses that are available to local health departments and reported there are more than 290,000 federally purchased Vaccines for Children program doses available to order by local health departments or private providers.
Flu activity is also widespread in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services' latest surveillance report.
CDC's FluView report showed that, of 10,841 specimens tested and reported during Jan. 5-11 by U.S. World Health Organization and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System collaborating laboratories, 2,721 (25.1 percent) were positive for influenza. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was above the epidemic threshold during the week, it states.