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2013/2014 Flu Update #1

Update #1 for the week ending December 9, 2013

Flu activity increases slightly, but will we follow the 2012/13 pattern?

This weeks Mitigation Journal Flu Update includes publicly available data from the CDC FluView, Google Flu Trends and other media sources.

This report contains data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2013/2014 Influenza season for week 48 for the period ending November 30, 2013. In this reporting period flu cases are starting to increase most notably in the south and south east.

According to the CDC Flu View site:

During week 48 (November 24-30, 2013), influenza activity increased slightly in the United States.
  • Viral Surveillance: Of 5,306 specimens tested and reported by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories during week 48, 536 (10.1%) were positive for influenza.
  • Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the epidemic threshold.
  • Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths: One influenza-associated pediatric death was reported.
  • Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate for the season of 1.2 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported.
  • Outpatient Illness Surveillance: The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 1.9%, below the national baseline of 2.0%. Two regions reported ILI above region-specific baseline levels. Two states experienced high ILI activity, two states experienced moderate ILI activity, two states and New York City experienced low ILI activity, 44 states experienced minimal ILI activity and the District of Columbia had insufficient data.
  • Geographic Spread of Influenza: The geographic spread of influenza in nine states was reported as regional; 13 states reported local influenza activity; the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and 27 states reported sporadic influenza activity, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and one state reported no influenza activity.

Comparison to last year at this time.

In the 2012/2014 flu season public health emergencies were not declared in New York and Boston until well after high numbers of ILI cases and intensity had been experienced. By looking at the  trends displayed between these two maps, can we predict and prepare for increased flu numbers in the coming weeks? The following images compare the Influenza Like Illness (ILI) activity for week 48 of 2012 and 2014. Both maps indicate ILI concentrations in the South and Southeastern United States. By reviewing last years data we know that with in four-weeks high ILI activity had progressed to the Northeast. Can we predict the same for 2013?  

2013/2014 CDC Flu Interactive Map for week 48 2013

Comparison: 2012/2014 CDC Interactive Map for week 48, 2012 

Google Flu Trends

Google Flu Trends remains a trusted source for ILI activity and comparison data.

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