PA Influenza Activity
Influenza activity continues to be very very low in Pennsylvania. Zero (0) to three lab positive cases were reported weekly to the department during the first two weeks of September.
ILI is defined as patients presenting with fever over 100*F, cough and/or sore throat in the absence of a known cause other than influenza.
THE 2010/11 FLU SEASON STARTED ON OCTOBER 3, 2010 and WILL RUN THROUGH SEPTEMBER OF 2011. FLU UPDATES PROVIDED BELOW REPRESENT DATA REPORTED SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY. The State Flu Activity status is determined by examing trends in lab-confirmed influenza, clusters or outbreaks of influenza in institutional settings, outpatient doctor visits attributed to influenza-like illness and the numebr of emergency department visits reported in Pennsylvania. The flu activity code is based on the following CDC definitions.
NO ACTIVITY: No laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and no reported increase in the number of cases of ILI.
SPORADIC: Small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak has been reported, but there is no increase in cases of ILI.
LOCAL: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state.
REGIONAL:Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory confirmed influenza in at least two but less than half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.
WIDESPREAD:Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.
LATEST FLU ACTIVITY NEWS in Pennsylavnia
The Pennsylvnaia Department of Health, Bureau of Laboratories tracks circulating flu viruses throughout the year to monitor for changes in influenza viruses. During the last two months, 3 human infections with novel influenza A/H3N2 of swine-origin have been identified in Pennsylvnia. No evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found in these cases but they all had a common exposure. An investigation into this incidence is ongoing; further information on this can be found at, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtm ... mm6035a6_w
Clinicians should consider swine-origin influenza A virus infection as well as seasonal influenza virus infections in the differential diagnosis of patients with febrile respiratory illness who have been near pigs
Surveillance data for the 2010/11 flu season will be posted during the second week of October, 2011. Below is some information from CDC on how you may prepare for the coming flu season.
What sort of flu season is expected this year?
Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading and whether they match the viruses in the vaccine.
Will new strains of flu circulate this season?
Flu viruses are constantly changing so it's not unusual for new flu virus strains to appear each year. For more information about how flu viruses change, go to, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change.htm
When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
What should I do to prepare for this flu season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. For information about which viruses this season's vaccine will protect against visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccine-selection.htm
. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
Inactivated influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups. For more information about vaccine effectiveness, visit, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm
Will this season's vaccine be a good match for circulating viruses?
It's not possible to predict with certainty which flu viruses will predominate during a given season. Flu viruses are constantly changing (called drift) – they can change from one season to the next or they can even change within the course of one flu season. Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time. Because of these factors, there is always the possibility of a less than optimal match between circulating viruses and the viruses in the vaccine.
How do we know if there is a good match between the vaccine viruses and those causing illness?
Over the course of a flu season CDC studies samples of flu viruses circulating during that season to evaluate how close a match there is between viruses in the vaccine and circulating viruses. In addition, CDC conducts vaccine effectiveness studies to determine how well the vaccine protects against illness. However, it's important to remember that even during seasons when the vaccine is not optimally matched to predominant circulating viruses, CDC and other experts continue to recommend flu vaccine as the best way to protect against the flu.
Can the vaccine provide protection even if the vaccine is not a "good" match?
Yes, antibodies made in response to vaccination with one strain of flu viruses can provide protection against different, but related strains. A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the variant viruses, but it can still provide some protection against influenza illness. In addition, it's important to remember that the flu vaccine contains three virus strains so that even when there is a less than ideal match or lower effectiveness against one strain, the vaccine may protect against the other two viruses. For these reasons, even during seasons when there is a less than ideal match, CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination. This is particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu complications (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm
), and their close contacts.
In what years was there a good match between the vaccine and the circulating viruses?
In recent years the match between the vaccine viruses and those identified during the flu season has usually been good. In 17 of the last 21 U.S. influenza seasons the viruses in the influenza vaccine have been well matched to the predominant circulating viruses. Since 1990, there has only been one season (1997–98) when there was very low cross–reaction between the viruses in the vaccine and the predominate circulating virus, and three seasons (1992–93, 2003–04, and 2007–08) when there was low cross–reaction.
What is CDC doing to monitor vaccine effectiveness for the 2011–2012 season?
CDC carries out and collaborates with other partners within and outside CDC to assess how well flu vaccines work. During the 2011–2012 season, CDC is planning multiple studies on the effectiveness of both the flu shot and the nasal–spray flu vaccine. These studies will measure vaccine effectiveness in preventing laboratory confirmed influenza among persons aged 6 months and older, now that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended annual vaccination for everyone in this age group.
What actions can I take to protect myself and my family against the flu this season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. In addition, you can take every day preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.
Where can I find information about vaccine supply?
For information about vaccine supply this season, please visit, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaxsupply.htm
Is there treatment for the flu?
Yes. If you get sick, there are drugs that can treat flu illness. They are called antiviral drugs and they can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They also can prevent serious flu–related complications, like pneumonia. For more information about antiviral drugs, visit, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/
What is antiviral resistance?
Antiviral resistance (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/antiviralresistance.htm
) means that a virus has changed in such a way that the antiviral drug is less effective in treating or preventing illness. Samples of viruses collected from around the United States and worldwide are studied to determine if they are resistant to any of the four FDA–approved influenza antiviral drugs.
Pennsylvania Department of Health latest health alerts, http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/healt ... ad4A285=|#
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly
Influenza activity in the southern hemisphere can be viewed at, http://www.google.org/flutrends/
US Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance submission login page:http://www2.ncid.cdc.gov/flu/
Pennsylvania Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: http://www.pandemicflu.state.pa.us http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/se ... 490&mode=2