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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:36 am 
Online

Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 47200
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Summary of flu activity in Pennsylvania during week 3:
Weekly numbers are reconciled on a regular basis to account for data entry errors, reporting errors, exclusion on non-PA residents and inclusion of PA residents who are diagnosed with influenza out of state and reported to the PA DOH. The numbers below reflect what had been reported as of January 19, 2013.
· Flu-related Emergency Department have started going down in all regions of the state.
· 4% of outpatient doctor-visits reported by sentinel physicians were attributed to ILI, which is lower than 6% reported the previous week but still above baseline (2.4%).

· 23, 079 lab positive cases have been reported season-to-date. 4, 903 flu cases were reported during week 3, down from 5, 069 cases reported during week 2. Because influenza activity may continue into the spring, it is not too late to get influenza vaccination.

· Influenza viruses were detected in 70% of respiratory samples that were submitted to the state lab for comfirmatory testing during week 3, down from 90% the week before. At this time, it is not necessary to send all respiratory specimens to the state lab for confirmatory testing. Labs and hospitals may only submit samples from persons noted in our most recent health advisory.

· A majority of illness at this time is caused by influenza A/H3N2, a strain that generally causes severe illness in older age groups. Viruses circulating this season are similar to strains included in this years influenza vaccine.

· Influenza cases have now been reported in all Pennsylvania counties.

· 480 flu-related hospitalizations were reported during week 3, down from 577 reported the week before. Altogether, 2, 078 hospitalizations have been reported season to date. The median age of hospitalizations is 67 years (range 0 to 98) years.

· Sixty four (64) influenza-related outbreaks were reported during week 3. Altogether, 218 outbreaks have been reported season-to-date. This is further evidence of the impact influenza can have on the elderly. Vaccinating employees and residents of long term care facilities, along with infection control practices can limit the impact of influenza. A list of Pennsylvania hospitals and long term care facilities with >90% influenza vaccine coverage among employees can be found at, http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/se ... 994&mode=2.

· Thirty five (35) influenza-related deaths were reported last week, making 75 the total number of flu-related deaths reported season-to-date. A majority of reported deaths are among the elderly (persons >65 years of age). No pediatric flu-related deaths (in persons <18 years) had been reported as of week 3.


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Lab positive flu cases reported weekly in Pennsylvania this season (as of week 3) vs. last 6 seasons


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The proportion of flu-related outpatient doctor-visits reported by sentinel physicins, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (~60 practices report weekly)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flu-related Emergency Department Visits over the last six months, as of January 19, 2013


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Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania this season, by week, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n= 23, 079)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Distribution of flu cases reported in Pennsylvania this season by county, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n= 23, 079)






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Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania this season, by region of the state, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n=23, 079)









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Lab positive influenza-related deaths reported in Pennsylvania county, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n=75)

County
Reported deaths

Allegheny
7

Armstrong
2

Beaver
1

Bedford
2

Blair
1

Bucks
2

Cambria
1

Centre
3

Chester
1

Clinton
1

Crawford
3

Cumberland
1

Dauphin
1

Delaware
1

Elk
1

Erie
2

Franklin
2

Indiana
1

Jefferson
2

Lancaster
3

Lebanon
1

Lehigh
2

Luzerne
2

Lycoming
2

Mercer
6

Montgomery
4

Northampton
2

Philadelphia
7

Schuykill
2

Somerset
2

Westmoreland
5

York
2





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Lab positive influenza-related deaths reported in Pennsylvania county, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n=75)

Age group (years)
# of deaths

0 to 4
0

5 to 9
0

10 to 18
0

19 to 24
0

25 to 49
5

50 to 64
7

>65
63

Total
75






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania county, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n= 23,079)

County
Reported Cases

ADAMS
168

ALLEGHENY
2104

ARMSTRONG
128

BEAVER
270

BEDFORD
147

BERKS
709

BLAIR
418

BRADFORD
146

BUCKS
741

BUTLER
579

CAMBRIA
215

CAMERON
25

CARBON
212

CENTRE
448

CHESTER
495

CLARION
190

CLEARFIELD
145

CLINTON
59

COLUMBIA
73

CRAWFORD
274

CUMBERLAND
456

DAUPHIN
565

DELAWARE
511

ELK
154

ERIE
584

FAYETTE
270

FOREST
10

FRANKLIN
414

FULTON
73

GREENE
160

HUNTINGDON
174

INDIANA
256

JEFFERSON
116

JUNIATA
85

LACKAWANNA
212

LANCASTER
830

LAWRENCE
71

LEBANON
310

LEHIGH
1651

LUZERNE
795

LYCOMING
256

MCKEAN
135

MERCER
259

MIFFLIN
132

MONROE
172

MONTGOMERY
1070

MONTOUR
41

NORTHAMPTON
1025

NORTHUMBERLAND
226

PERRY
43

PHILADELPHIA
796

PIKE
38

POTTER
94

SCHUYLKILL
365

SNYDER
112

SOMERSET
282

SULLIVAN
14

SUSQUEHANNA
41

TIOGA
83

UNION
164

VENANGO
100

WARREN
107

WASHINGTON
562

WAYNE
35

WESTMORELAND
869

WYOMING
45

YORK
770



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lab positive influenza hospitalizations reported in Pennsylvania this season by week, 10/02/12 - 01/19/2013 (n= 2,078)

MMWRWK
Reported Hospitalizations

40
2

41
1

42
2

43
8

45
2

46
3

47
7

48
20

49
38

50
58

51
107

52
252

1
521

2
577

3
480




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Types of respiratory viruses isolated by the state lab during week 3, as a percentage of 268 specimens

*Based on repiratory specimens that were submitted to the state lab for confirmatory testing during week 3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Types of influenza viruses circulating in Pennsylvania as of week 3, based on 127 isolates*

*Based on repiratory specimens that were submitted to the state lab for confirmatory testing during week 3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Useful Links


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

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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:15 am 
Online

Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 47200
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Summary of flu activity in Pennsylvania during week 7:
Weekly numbers are reconciled on a regular basis to account for data entry errors, late reporting, exclusion on non-PA residents and inclusion of PA residents who are diagnosed with influenza out of state. The numbers below reflect what had been reported as of week 7, ending February 16, 2013.
· Flu-related Emergency Department visits continued to decline in week 7, but current activity remains above average.
· 2.4% of outpatient doctor-visits reported by sentinel physicians were attributed to ILI, which is at baseline (2.4%).

· 34,090 lab positive cases have been reported season-to-date. 1,082 flu cases were reported during week 7, down from 1,876 cases reported during week 6. Influenza cases have been reported in all age groups and counties of the state. More reports of lab positive influenza, hospitalizations and deaths have now (as of week 7) been been reported in Pennsylvania this season than any past season since 2003 when Pennsylvania started started tracking the flu.

· Influenza viruses were detected in 58% of respiratory samples that were submitted to the state lab for confirmatory testing during week 7, a similar pattern was reported during week 6. At this time, influenza remains the most common cause of respiratory illness, accounting for >60% of all respiratory isolates detected by the state lab.

· Because of the declining prevalence of influenza, other respiratory viruses should be considered in persons presenting with flu-like illneses. In addition to influenza, the state lab is now detecting an increasing number of non-flu respiratory viruses, including, rhinovirus, respiratory synctial virus (RSV), adenovirus, parainfluenza, coronavirus and adenovirus.

· While influenza type A remains the most common reported influenza type, over the last two weeks the proportion of influenza type B viruses reported has increased. Influenza type B viruses generally cause milder illness than type A viruses, but can still result in serious complications. However, the increase in type B viruses may increase illness in persons less than 50 years of age.

· Influenza A/H3N2 subtype continues to be the dominant influenza strain circulating in Pennsylvania, a strain that generally causes severe illness in older age groups. Viruses circulating this season are similar to strains included in this year's influenza vaccine. Because influenza activity may continue into the spring, it is not too late to get vaccinated against influenza.

· The state lab can now test influenza viruses for sensitivity to antiviral medications. Nearly all viruses tested so far are sensitive to currently antiviral medications. During week 6, the state lab detected an influenza A/H1N1 virus which was resistant to Tamiflu. No additional viruses of this nature have been detected in Pennsylvania; suggesting that nearly all circulating A/H1N1 viruses remain sensitive to Tamiflu.

· 111 flu-related hospitalizations were reported during week 7, down from 151 hospitalizations reported during week 6. Altogether, 3,016 hospitalizations have been reported season-to-date. The median age of hospitalizations is 79 years (range 0 to 99) years. While the overall number of hospitalizations has plateaued, the proportion of elderly among those hospitalized has increased. The elderly currently account for 23% of all reported cases but nearly 70% of all reported hospitalizations.

· 11 outbreaks of influenza in long term care facilities were reported during week 7, down from 6 reported during week 6. Altogether, 345 outbreaks have been reported season-to-date. This is further evidence of the impact influenza can have on the elderly. Vaccinating employees and residents of long term care facilities, along with infection control practices, can limit the impact of influenza. A list of Pennsylvania hospitals and long term care facilities with >90% influenza vaccine coverage among employees can be found at, http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/se ... 994&mode=2.

· 14 influenza-related deaths were reported last week. Altogether, 154 flu-related deaths have been reported season-to-date - which is by far the most flu-related deaths reported in Pennsylvania in a single season. A majority (87%) of reported deaths are among the elderly (persons >65 years of age).


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania this season (as of week 7) compared to the last 6 seasons




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The proportion of flu-related outpatient doctor-visits reported by sentinel physicians, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (~60 practices report weekly)




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Flu-related Emergency Department Visits over the last 6 months, as of February 16, 2013




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania this season, by week, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=34,090)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Distribution of flu cases reported in Pennsylvania this season by county, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=34,090)








--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania by county, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=34,090)

COUNTY
TOTAL


ADAMS
628

ALLEGHENY
2703

ARMSTRONG
219

BEAVER
324

BEDFORD
234

BERKS
855

BLAIR
572

BRADFORD
153

BUCKS
1015

BUTLER
728

CAMBRIA
288

CAMERON
26

CARBON
281

CENTRE
620

CHESTER
874

CLARION
230

CLEARFIELD
193

CLINTON
121

COLUMBIA
104

CRAWFORD
427

CUMBERLAND
659

DAUPHIN
940

DELAWARE
755

ELK
198

ERIE
846

FAYETTE
442

FOREST
12

FRANKLIN
580

FULTON
96

GREENE
190

HUNTINGDON
340

INDIANA
325

JEFFERSON
165

JUNIATA
106

LACKAWANNA
306

LANCASTER
1568

LAWRENCE
113

LEBANON
500

LEHIGH
2675

LUZERNE
931

LYCOMING
332

MCKEAN
197

MERCER
374

MIFFLIN
261

MONROE
243

MONTGOMERY
1516

MONTOUR
816

NORTHAMPTON
1374

NORTHUMBERLAND
265

PERRY
61

PHILADELPHIA
1191

PIKE
76

POTTER
191

SCHUYLKILL
496

SNYDER
188

SOMERSET
424

SULLIVAN
15

SUSQUEHANNA
46

TIOGA
100

UNION
250

VENANGO
136

WARREN
140

WASHINGTON
759

WAYNE
50

WESTMORELAND
1124

WYOMING
57

YORK
1066

TOTAL
34090










--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lab positive flu cases reported in Pennsylvania by region, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=34,090)






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lab positive influenza hospitalizations reported in Pennsylvania this season by week, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=3,016)










--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Lab positive influenza-related deaths reported in Pennsylvania by county, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=154)

County
Reported deaths

Allegheny
12

Armstrong
5

Beaver
3

Bedford
3

Blair
2

Bradford
1

Bucks
3

Butler
2

Cambria
2

Centre
3

Chester
4

Clearfield
1

Clinton
1

Crawford
4

Cumberland
3

Dauphin
3

Delaware
3

Elk
2

Erie
7

Fayette
3

Franklin
4

Indiana
1

Jefferson
2

Lancaster
10

Lebanon
2

Lehigh
5

Luzerne
2

Lycoming
2

Mercer
4

Montgomery
10

Northampton
4

Northumberland
1

Philadelphia
17

Schuylkill
4

Somerset
5

Venango
2

Warren
2

Washington
1

Westmoreland
6

York
3




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lab positive influenza-related deaths reported in Pennsylvania by age-group, 10/02/12 - 02/16/2013 (n=154)

Age group (years)
# of deaths

0 to 4
0

5 to 9
0

10 to 18
2

19 to 24
0

25 to 49
9

50 to 64
9

>65
134

Total
154




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Percentage of respiratory samples testing positive for influenza at the state lab weekly, as of week 7



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Types of respiratory viruses isolated by the state lab in February, 2013




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Types of influenza viruses circulating in Pennsylvania as of week 7


*Based on respiratory specimens that were submitted to the state lab for confirmatory testing during week 7

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Useful Links


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

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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:00 pm 
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Posts: 3993
http://www.goerie.com/article/20131225/ ... rie-County
Quote:
December 25, 2013 12:01 AM EST

Flu season may be near in Erie County
By DAVID BRUCE, Erie Times-News

Christmas season may soon give way to flu season in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Three cases of flu have been reported to the Erie County Department of Health since Thanksgiving, though none in the past three weeks.

A better predictor of an impending flu season is the fact that widespread cases of flu have been reported in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and nearby New York state, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Sporadic cases have been reported in Pennsylvania.

"Time is running out to get your flu shot," said Howard Nadworny, M.D., Saint Vincent Hospital's chief of infection control. "If Texas is the model for the rest of the country, we could expect to see much more flu in a couple of weeks."

Flu season usually arrives in northwestern Pennsylvania between January and March, though it has occurred as early as October and as late as May. It usually lasts for six to eight weeks.

The good news {good news??} is that most cases reported so far this season are H1N1, the same strain that caused the 2009 "swine flu" pandemic.

"It's a strain covered in the current flu vaccine," Nadworny said. "But there have been some severe cases of flu reported that makes me wonder if that strain is starting to change."


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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 47200
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Dec 26, 2013. PAULA WOLF

Fever, muscle aches and sore throat cutting into your holiday cheer this year?

Turns out you just might have the flu. After being sporadic this fall, influenza activity in Pennsylvania is now widespread, according to the state Department of Health's weekly flu update.

"We've definitely seen an uptick," said Dr. Ericka Powell, an emergency room physician at Lancaster Regional Medical Center in the city and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center in Lititz.

Medical professionals emphasize that it's still not too late to receive a flu shot. A fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu vaccine "can be protective, as long as flu viruses are circulating."

Influenza usually peaks in January or later, the CDC said.

Powell said some flu patients in the two hospitals in which she works were not vaccinated, but others were.

According to the CDC, vaccine effectiveness can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups.

As of Saturday, there were 1,159 confirmed flu cases in Pennsylvania this season — 51 of which were in Lancaster County. Many of the infections are from the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus, which caused the pandemic several years ago.

That total is fourth-most in the state, behind Butler (79) Allegheny (76) and Blair (72) counties.

Here are some more flu-related facts from the CDC:

• Symptoms range from the aforementioned fever/chills, muscle/body aches and sore throat to coughing, fatigue and headaches.

Powell said she's also seeing a lot of nausea and vomiting, and temperatures as high as 105.

• It's believed that influenza viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk, which can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. Occasionally, individuals catch the flu by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose.

• Those who don't realize they've come down with the flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Some people — especially young children and individuals with weakened immune systems — might be able to infect others for a longer period.

• Flu complications include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

• The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months and older, except people who've experienced a bad allergic reaction to the vaccine previously. Those with severe allergies to eggs may be advised to avoid the vaccine, too, as well as individuals with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome that occurred after receiving the vaccine.

Powell said she especially recommends that children, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions — such as a history of asthma — get the flu vaccine.

The Web page cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfact... includes a Flu Vaccine Finder where people can plug in their ZIP code.

• The flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness.

• Vaccination with the nasal-spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy people ages 2 to 49, excluding women who are pregnant.


http://lancasteronline.com/article/loca ... ounty.html

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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 47200
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Flu season packs a miserable punch, but it's not too late to get vaccinated
Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com By Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on December 27, 2013 at 3:23 PM, updated December 27, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Better stock up on the sports drink, chicken broth and plain crackers.

The flu season is in full swing and across the midstate even the hardiest of types are succumbing to one serious knock-out punch.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, there lurks a gastrointestinal virus that is not for the squeamish.

According to the state Department of Health, Pennsylvania is under the highest level of outbreak category. The current red code designates “Widespread” outbreaks of the flu or flu-like illnesses across the state.

Put some of the blame on the holidays.

“It’s an ideal situation for disease transmission to take place,” said Ram Nambiar, director of epidemiology for the state Department of Health. “When you have family gatherings and you have little kids who may not be washing their hands or not practicing good cough etiquette...it goes around and around. When you look at lot of diseases especially with the flu you see it happening during Thanksgiving and the winter. That is what we expect, of course.”

State health officials each year track and monitor outbreaks of the flu and flu-like illnesses.

It may come as little consolation to the stricken, but so far this year the most prevalent virus strain has been the H1N1, a blessing of sorts as the the H1N1 strain typically causes fewer hospitalizations and deaths.

The rate of outbreak may have doubled each of the last two weeks, but the outbreak is far from a public crisis. In fact, last year’s outbreak and that of the 2009-2010 flu season was far worse, Nambiar said.

“As the weather gets colder we expect flu cases to increase and that’s what we are seeing,” he said. “We are not seeing anything out of the ordinary. We are seeing flu cases in all parts of the state.”

State health officials estimate that as many as 1.2 million Pennsylvanian residents get the flu each year and 200 to 2000 die from complications of influenza.

Across the region, doctors and hospitals so far are reporting a range of flu patterns. While staff at Holy Spirit Health System have not admitted anyone to the hospital due to flu-like illnesses, a few patients have been “swabbed” - meaning samples collected have been cultured to test if it’s the true flu.

The good news is that the particular strains recorded thus far are all in the 2013-2014 flu vaccine. Nambiar stresses that it’s not too late for people to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine may not guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it can make a big difference in the misery department.

“A lot of people have this myth that you could still get the flu. You can, but it will be far less severe than getting the whole full blown flu,” Nambiar said. “There isn’t anything other out there than getting vaccinated, good hand washing and staying home once you get sick. We can only do so much to prevent, and the best thing now is to vaccinate.”

The state flu numbers represent only lab-confirmed cases reported to the Department of Health and may not provide a complete picture of flu illness in the commonwealth at any given time.

Most people who contract the flu (even those who seek healthcare) are diagnosed presumptively and do not have lab tests performed to determine the cause of illness and some people do not go to the doctors when they are ill.

“You could say it’s the tip of the iceberg,” Nambiar said.

And about that stomach flu going around: The so-called norovirus strain is not the classic flu, but it can wreak as much misery.

“The term we always use is you feel as a truck ran over you,” Nambiar said. “You are completely in bed and can’t do anything until it goes away.”

Flu season may provide fodder for cute TV ads for over-the-counter medicines, but the annual virus can be deadly for some.

“It can be serious especially for elderly folks because with age there could be other complications. Influenza can only complicate matters,” Nambiar said.

The doctor’s golden advice: If you get the flu, stay home. Wash your hands often and properly and practice good cough etiquette. And yes, a little chicken soup will go a long way in making the patient feel better.

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index. ... _2013.html

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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:09 pm 
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http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index. ... in_pa.html
Quote:
Flu cases now widespread in Pa., state, federal officials say

By Matt Miller
December 30, 2013 at 12:57 PM

With the flu season nearing its peak, the virus is now considered to be widespread in Pennsylvania, one of 10 U.S. states reporting major outbreaks of the illness as 2013 ends.

State Health Department officials are basing that calculation on reports of laboratory-confirmed incidents of the flu. They concede that their statistics tell only a fraction of the infectious story since most people who contract the flu are diagnosed and treated without any lab tests.

The state's finding that the flu, or influenza as it is officially known, is currently widespread stems from reports of 1,159 lab-confirmed flu cases statewide for the week that ended Dec. 21. The Health Department issues updates on the flu situation each Tuesday.

According to the latest report, Blair County had the most lab-confirmed flu cases with 79, followed by Butler County with 76, and Allegheny County with 72.

In the midstate, Lancaster County led the flu tally with 51 confirmed cases, trailed by York County with 42 cases, Dauphin County with 36 and Cumberland County with 23.

Adams County had nine, Berks County had 19, Centre County had eight, Franklin County and Lebanon County each had seven, Fulton County had one, Juniata County and Perry County each had three, Lycoming County had 21, and Schuylkill County had 15.

Relying on past experience and federal projections, Health Department officials estimate that 5 to 20 percent of Pennsylvanians get the flu annually, a total that ranges from 600,000 to 1.2 million people. Between 200 and 2,000 people in the state die from flu complications each year.

The Washington Post is reporting that experts with the federal Centers for Disease Control say that, besides Pennsylvania, the flu virus in now widespread in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Kansas, Wyoming and Alaska.

The H1N1 strain of flu, commonly known as swine flu, is the main form of flu being detected nationwide this season, the CDC reported.


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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:22 am 
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http://www.abc27.com/story/24341709/pa- ... o-increase
Quote:
Pa. flu activity continues to increase
January 1, 2014 12:03
By Myles Snyder

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Flu season appears to be getting worse in Pennsylvania, with the number of confirmed cases nearly doubling in the past week.

The state Health Department has confirmed nearly 2,200 cases of influenza between Sept. 29 and Dec. 28.

More than 1,000 new cases were reported last week, while over 500 new cases were reported in the prior week.

The hardest-hit areas in central Pennsylvania are Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties.

Cases reported to the Health Department are only a fraction of those in the state, since some people with the flu do not have lab tests performed to determine the cause of illness and others do not go to a doctor when they are sick.

Health officials estimate that 600,000 to 1,200,000 Pennsylvanians get the flu each year, and 200 to 2,000 die from complications of influenza.


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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:50 pm 
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Originally Published Jan 02, 2014 17:07

By PAULA WOLF
Staff Writer
pwolf@lnpnews.com

With almost 2,200 confirmed influenza cases in Pennsylvania as of last Saturday — a total that nearly doubled in a week — Lancaster County now has its first flu death.

Frieda Schmidt, manager of public relations at Lancaster General Health, confirmed that a male died of flu-related causes last month.

She said the man had not received the flu vaccine.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health did not post any information about flu-related fatalities in its Tuesday update.

Spokeswoman Aimee Tysarczyk said in an email that when such figures are made public, "we have decided against identifying which counties flu deaths occur in because of the potential to identify the patient."

The Health Department reported that the number of confirmed flu infections rose from 1,159 in the week ending Dec. 21 to 2,180 in the week ending Dec. 28.

Cases in Lancaster County climbed from 51 to 68. Blair County leads the state in flu infections, with 189.

Of the 37 LGH patients (inpatient and outpatient) diagnosed with the flu, only seven had been immunized with the influenza vaccine, Schmidt said.


Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/loca ... z2pIPqAvtF

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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:19 pm
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http://www.ellwoodcityledger.com/news/l ... f4ae6.html
Quote:
Flu season ramping up locally, across state
Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 12:15 am
By Jenny Wagner Calkins Media

BRIGHTON TWP. -- Doctors and hospitals are bracing for the brunt of the flu season after cases have “skyrocketed” both locally and across the state in the last few weeks.

In its most recent influenza report, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said flu activity in the state is now "widespread" -- the highest classification in the system for tracking the spread of the virus -- with 2,180 confirmed cases as of Dec. 28.

Dr. Matthew Wheeler, assistant medical director of emergency services at Heritage Valley Health System, said the amount of influenza cases he’s seen at the Brighton Township and Sewickley hospitals has been ramping up.

“It seems like the numbers, especially over the last several weeks have kind of skyrocketed,” Wheeler said, noting that he treated eight patients with influenza on Monday and another five or six patients on Wednesday.

Influenza activity throughout the state was sporadic up until the week of Thanksgiving, but reports of new cases have grown exponentially since then. Between the weeks of Dec. 15 and Dec. 22 the number of cases in Pennsylvania almost doubled, jumping to more than 1,000 positive flu tests, state data showed.

Parts of western Pennsylvania have been hit especially hard, with nearly 160 cases in Allegheny County, 74 in Beaver County and 121 cases in Butler County, according to the health department's report. Lawrence County, on the other hand, has seen only 15 confirmed cases so far this flu season.

The rapid tests used by Heritage Valley and many other hospitals do not indicate the exact strains patients have, Wheeler said, but state data shows that the majority of influenza cases this season are turning out to be H1N1, also known as “swine flu.”

[...]


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 Post subject: Re: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:52 am 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Western PA. flu on the upswing

Vaccine is a good match for this year's strains
January 4, 2014 12:03 AM

By Amy McConnell Schaarsmith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


You didn't get your flu shot and here comes the fallout, rolling over you like a freight train: high fever and chills, sore throat, aching joints and muscles, and coughing, coughing, coughing, coughing. At some point, you might even get to visit the emergency room.

Influenza is now widespread throughout Pennsylvania and many other states, and southwest Pennsylvania has seen its number of confirmed cases spike in the past week, with the number of flu cases expected to continue climbing in the weeks ahead, health experts say. But this year's vaccine is a good match for the strains of virus circulating now, they said, and local residents can still get a flu shot that could spare them extreme misery and even possible hospitalization.

"The message for the public is that if you have not received a flu shot, it's not too late," said Marc Itskowitz, an associate professor of medicine and an internal medicine practitioner at Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side. "This is an active season with potentially severe cases, and I would encourage patients to receive a flu shot if they have not yet received one."

Vaccines in past years haven't always been a close match to the viruses causing that year's illness -- viruses tend to change from year to year, and vaccine companies must prepare the next flu season's vaccines several months before anyone knows for sure what is circulating. But this year, it matches well, according to Allegheny County Health Director Karen Hacker.

"This year, it's quite good," said Dr. Hacker, who also advised frequent hand-washing, sneezing and coughing into one's elbow and staying home if ill to prevent spreading viruses. "It's very protective."

But don't dally if you still need a flu shot, health experts said.

After vaccination, the body takes approximately 14 days to build a full immune response to the flu, but health officials said the flu season has not peaked -- and that even after the typical peak in late January or February, flu circulates widely as late as April so it's still worthwhile to immunize. And even if someone has already had the flu, they are still subject to contracting several other strains against which a flu shot would protect them.

In Allegheny County, the number of flu cases has been on the upswing since mid-December, according to state and county health officials. In data filed Thursday, the department reported 44 lab-confirmed cases of influenza since September -- with 26 of those cases confirmed in the week ending Dec. 28, according to Dr. Hacker. While the number of confirmed cases is relatively small, few cases of "influenza-like illness" of fever over 100 degrees along with cough, sore throat or both that are reported by emergency rooms are actually sent to a lab for testing; for each confirmed case, there's likely another 100 unconfirmed cases in the community, Dr. Itskowitz said.

In Allegheny County, 159 cases of confirmed and suspected flu were reported as of Dec. 28, including one flu-related death of a 62-year-old woman, according to Dr. Hacker. In addition, the state reported 121 cases in Butler County, 89 cases in Westmoreland, 74 cases in Beaver, 66 cases in Washington County, 63 in Fayette County and 9 each in Greene and Armstrong counties during that period.

Based on projections from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state health department estimates that as many as 1.2 million Pennsylvanians get the flu each year, with as many as 2,000 dying from flu complications. Nationally, 25 states including Pennsylvania are reporting widespread incidence of flu, with 1,711 confirmed cases and six pediatric deaths. Last year, 171 children died of flu complications nationally, according to the CDC.

The strain of flu that is causing most of the illness is a version of H1N1 that re-emerged in 2009 for the first time since the late 1960s and predominantly affected older teenagers and young adults in their 20s and 30s who didn't have the prior exposure their parents and grandparents had had decades earlier. That group appears to be suffering again this year, Dr. Itskowitz said.

"Unfortunately, we've seen some very severe cases, mostly in very young patients who have not been vaccinated and who in some cases have experienced respiratory failure or pneumonia," he said.

People who have begun to recover from the flu should be alert for a return of their high fever after a few days, said Marian Michaels, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Most cases of hospitalization or death from the flu are a result not of the virus but of the bacterial pneumonia that sometimes exploits the patient's weakened immune system.

"When they get a new high fever, and respiratory distress where they're having trouble breathing, that's when we worry about secondary bacterial infection and we recommend they call their doctors," Dr. Michaels said.

Such serious complications are another reason to get the flu shot, especially for family members of infants younger than 6 months old and still too young to receive the flu vaccine, she said. She said several young infants have been admitted to Children's and have tested positive for influenza, which means someone in their family or day care center had the flu and gave it to them.

Immunizing everyone who comes in contact with a young infant -- known as "cocooning" -- is essential, she said.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health ... z2pRRB7tob

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