This weeks Mitigation Journal Flu Update includes publicly available data from the CDC FluView, Google Flu Trends, and other media sources.
Data reported by the CDC for week 51 of 2012 (December 16-22) continues to reflect increased influenza activity throughout the United States. 6,234 specimens were tested by the World Health Organization during this period. Of those tested, 29.6% of samples (1,846) were positive for influenza. Current report indicate a decrease in samples tested by WHO from week 50 (December 9-15) with 9,560 samples tested resulted in 28.3% or 2,709 cases positive for influenza. The decrease in samples tested between weeks 50 and 51 my indicate a decline in influenza-like-illness and trending down of cases or may simply reflect cases being treated without testing.
The CDC also reports that pediatric flu related deaths continued to climb during week 51 with eight deaths reported. Three cases attributed to influenza B viruses, three cases from influenza A (H3) viruses, and two cases influenza A with no subtype identified.
Despite widespread influenza, CDC reports that the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza remains below the limits to be declared and epidemic.
Video compilation of flu maps from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FluView as reported for 2012 week 51/ending December 22, 2012.
Google Flu Trends data reports "intense" flu activity as of December 30, 2012
In the news
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have begun restricting visitation based on influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms. Duke University Health System has outlined the following temporary restrictions on visitation (from Duke University Health System news):
•Patients may receive no more than two adult visitors at one time.•Children under 18 are not permitted to visit hospitals or wards without prior approval from healthcare providers and for special circumstances.•Visitors are urged to perform hand washing frequently, including when entering and leaving the building. Foam dispensers are available throughout the buildings, and are effective against influenza virus.•Visitors with fever, cough or other flu-like symptoms should remain home.•Emergency rooms, urgent care centers and clinics will seek opportunities to physically segregate potential flu patients if facility designs allow.