According to this week’s Influenza Division FluView Report from the Centerds for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza activity remains elevated in most of the country. Like last week, some national indicators are declining while others are increasing. Nationally, influenza-like-illness seems to be leveling off, however some parts of the country are continuing to show increases. In general, the South, Southeast, New England and the Midwest are declining. The Southwest and the Northwest are rising.
Key indicators reflecting severity (hospitalizations and deaths) increased again this week, with the greatest impact among people 65 and older. It’s especially important that people 65 and older and other high risk persons get vaccinated and also that they seek treatment quickly if they develop symptoms including cough, fever, sore throat, and body aches, regardless of their vaccination status. Antiviral treatment can avert serious outcomes and should begin as quickly as possible in high risk patients.
As of Jan. 18, 2013, 133.5 million doses of influenza vaccine had been distributed to vaccine providers in the United States for the 2012-2013 season. People seeking vaccination may need to call more than one provider to locate vaccine. The flu vaccine finder at http://flushot.healthmap.org/ may be helpful.
Given the severe impact the 2012-2013 influenza season is having on people aged 65 and older in the United States, CDC is conducting targeted outreach to health care providers caring for seniors. A “2012-2013 CDC Influenza Update for Geriatricians and Other Clinicians Caring for People 65 and Older" posted on Jan. 24, 2013 is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/2012-2013-guidance-geriatricians.htm.
In addition, a CDC Health Advisory, “Notice to Clinicians: Summary of CDC Recommendations for Influenza Antiviral Medications” issued on Jan. 15, 2013 is available at: http://emergency.cdc.gov/HAN/han00339.asp.