Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Update on Flu Activity in the United States

Detailed updates on influenza activity are produced weekly by the CDC and can be found here.

For the week ending on 12/22/12 here are the highlights (for the United States): 

1) 31 states reported widespread influenza activity (including my 'neck of the woods,' Virginia)

2) There have been 16 pediatric deaths due to influenza since September 30, 2012. Overall the percentage of deaths due to influenza and pneumonia was below the "epidemic threshold" 

3) Influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been most prominent, followed by influenza B; 2009 H1N1 (responsible for that season's pandemic) have been relatively rare

4) 312 infections with "variant" influenza viruses have been detected; these were mostly H3N2v. These viruses normally circulate in pigs and human infections have been attributed to prolonged contact with pigs at agricultural fairs; no sustained community spread of H3N2v has been detected

Influenza activity is now widespread in the US; this year's (Northern hemisphere) vaccine includes many of the circulating viral strains: it is not too late to get your flu shot! 

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