After falling slightly around the winter holidays, influenza activity has now risen for 2 consecutive weeks, according to a January 31 report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At a time when many are rightly concerned about the novel coronavirus (2019nCoV) — of which there are 11 confirmed cases in the United States as of Monday — the CDC is also warning citizens not to drop their guard about influenza, which has caused at least 19 million illnesses, 180,000 hospitalizations, and 10,000 deaths so far this season.
Nationwide, during the week ending January 25 (week 4), 5.7% of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness activity were reported, up from 5.1% the week before and above the national baseline of 2.4%. Regionally, this percentage ranged from 4.1% to 7.7% and visits were above region-specific baselines in all regions.
Activity was high in the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and 41 states — an increase from 35 the week before. Activity was moderate in seven states. There were insufficient data to calculate activity from the US Virgin Islands and two states (Delaware and Idaho).
Geographically, influenza activity was widespread in Puerto Rico and 49 states, regional in Hawaii, local in the District of Columbia, and sporadic in the US Virgin Islands. Guam did not report on activity.
Between Oct. 1, 2019 and Jan. 25, 2020, 8633 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported. Of those, 5173 (59.9%) were linked to influenza A virus, 3401 (39.4%) to influenza B virus, 27 (0.3%) to influenza A and influenza B virus co-infection, and 32 (0.4%) to influenza virus for which type was undetermined.
Among viruses for which influenza A virus subtype was available, 1080 (91.1%) were A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and 106 (8.9%) were A(H3N2).
Overall, the cumulative hospitalization rate was 29.7 per 100,000 population, “similar to what has been seen during recent previous influenza seasons at this time of year,” the CDC says in the report. However, the CDC says rates in children and young adults are higher than those seen at this time during recent seasons.
The highest hospitalization rate is among adults aged 65 years and older (71.3 per 100,000 population), followed by children younger than 5 years (48.8) and adults aged 50 to 64 years (36.7).
The percentage of deaths that resulted from pneumonia and influenza was 6.7% — below the epidemic threshold of 7.2% for week 3.
During week 4, CDC received reports of 14 influenza-associated pediatric deaths that occurred between the weeks ending Nov. 9, 2019 and Jan. 25, 2020. Eight were linked to influenza B viruses, one of which underwent lineage determination and was a B/Victoria virus. Six were related to influenza A viruses; three of those were subtyped and found to be A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses.
There have been 68 influenza-related pediatric deaths so far during the 2019-2020 influenza season. Of those, 45 were linked to influenza B viruses; all eight that had lineage determined were B/Victoria viruses. Approximately one third (23) were related to influenza A viruses, of which 13 were subtyped and found to be A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses.
The vast majority (91.5%) of the 1108 hospitalized adults who had information on underlying conditions had one or more underlying medical conditions. The most common of these were cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorder, obesity, and chronic lung disease.
Among hospitalized children with information on underlying conditions, about half (46.5%) had one or more underlying conditions, the most common of which was asthma. Approximately one fourth (26.4%) of hospitalized women of childbearing age with pregnancy status recorded were pregnant.
Estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness are not yet available for this season; however, the CDC emphasizes that vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its complications.
“Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the four FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the US this season,” the CDC writes in the report.
CDC FluView. Published online January 31, 2020. Full text
Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers – BlackburnNews.com
Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers
October 20, 2020 3:02am
Primary health care providers that plan on delivering the annual flu shot should have their allotment by the end of the week.
The Windsor Essex County Health Unit is starting to distribute flu vaccines to area practices. The health unit is not responsible for distributing vaccines to pharmacies, that’s done on a provincial level.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed is encouraging everyone in the community to get the flu shot, especially those who are high risk.
“The vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, colds or other respiratory illnesses that may be mistaken for influenza but they are not caused by the influenza virus. Still, it would reduce the hospitalization, need for health care services and overall decrease the burden of disease in our community,” said Dr. Ahmed.
Every year in Canada, about 3,500 deaths are linked to the influenza virus or about 1 per cent of confirmed flu cases.
Last year there were about 200 confirmed cases of influenza in Windsor-Essex and no deaths linked to the virus. Ahmed said many people who experience flu-like symptoms at home will never get tested for the virus but it`s estimated about 10-20 per cent of the Canadian population are infected with the flu each year.
So far in 2020, 9,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Canada, about 5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the country.
N.S. reports two new COVID-19 cases; six active cases remain – CTV News Atlantic
Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday in the province’s central zone – bringing the provincial total of active cases to six.
According to the province, the new cases are both related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble, and the two individuals are self-isolating as required.
There is no longer anyone in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 674 Nova Scotia tests on Saturday, with one new case identified.
To date, Nova Scotia has 104,830 negative test results.
There are 1,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but 1,026 cases are considered resolved, and 65 people have died – leaving six active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.
The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.
- Western zone: 56 cases
- Central zone: 919 cases
- Northern zone: 68 cases
- Eastern zone: 54 cases
STATE OF EMERGENCY RENEWED UNTIL NOVEMBER
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov 1, unless government terminates or extends it before then.
COVID ALERT APP NOW AVAILABLE
On Thursday, Nova Scotia Health announced that Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is now available in the province.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
LIST OF SYMPTOMS
Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- runny nose/nasal congestion
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province.
However, the province has eased some self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.
News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #224 – news.gov.mb.ca
Need More Info?
Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.
UK Authorities Allege Russian Hackers Targeted the 2020 Olympics – Gizmodo
COVID-19 update for Oct. 19: 499 new cases, two additional deaths – Standard Freeholder
Flu vaccines on the way to primary health care providers – BlackburnNews.com
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