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2013/2014 Flu Update #3

Update #3 for December 28, 2013

ILI activity climbing fast, HAN Alert Issued

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 51 for the period ending December 21, 2013. In this period flu cases are described as "widespread" and Health Alert Network advisory published.

The  CDC's Heath Alert Network (HAN) has published an official CDC Health Advisory alerting clinicians to reports of severe respiratory illness/infection with influenza A (H1N1). According to the HAN Advisory, the H1N1 pdm09 virus has resulted in numbers pH1N1 hospitalizations and ICU admissions. Some fatalities have bee reported. The alert also notes "While it is not possible to predict which influenza viruses will predominate during the entire 2013-14 influenza season, pH1N1 has been the predominant circulating virus so far.

According to the CDC Flu View site:
During week 51 (December 15-21, 2013), shows continued increase of influenza activity in the United States.
  • Viral Surveillance: Of 6,813 specimens tested and reported by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories during week 51, 1,639 (24.1%) 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 that occurred during the 2012-2013 season was reported.
  • Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate for the season of 4.3 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 3.0%, above the national baseline of 2.0%. Eight regions reported ILI at or above region-specific baseline levels. Six states experienced high ILI activity; eight states experienced moderate ILI activity; six states experienced low ILI activity; 28 states experienced minimal ILI activity, and the District of Columbia, New York City, and two states had insufficient data.
  • Geographic Spread of Influenza: The geographic spread of influenza in 10 states was reported as widespread; Guam and 23 states reported regional influenza activity; 12 states reported local influenza activity; the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four states reported sporadic influenza activity, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and one state did not report.
Timeline Comparison
Below are CDC FluView maps that compare the prior two reporting periods against the corresponding weeks of 2012/2013 influenza season. They indicate ILI activity increasing steadily through weeks 48 to week 51, 2013. There is a noticeable difference in ILI activity between week 51 2013 when compared to week 51 2012. The 2013 CDC map demonstrates a much lower geographical impact of High ILI activity compared to the current year at this time.

2013/2014 CDC Flu Interactive Map for week 51 2013

2013/2014 CDC Flu Interactive Map for week 50 2013

Comparison: 2012/2014 CDC Interactive Map for week 51, 2012 

Google Flu Trends

Google Flu Trends remains a trusted source for ILI activity and comparison data. According to Google Flu Trends ILI activity has progressed from moderate to high between December 15 to December 22, 2013. 

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