Thursday, February 11, 2016

The 2015-16 early flu season is somewhat strange!

In general, the flu season spikes in the first week of January as evidenced in the graph. Every year, that is, until this year. No, the 2015-15 season resembled more a flat tire than anything else. So what was happening? No one really knows. Perhaps everyone decided to get their flu shot this year. Perhaps people are staying home more and shopping on the internet. Perhaps no one has much money and so they are more limited in their travel activities. Perhaps none of the above is really the case. Still, it's rather creepy to see that one of the three circulating strains (H1N1, aka the swine flu) which is very contagious, has not been catching... that is until now....

The CDC has just recently issued a health visionary after seeing the H1N1 version of the flu show up here and there in the US. Here is part of that advisory: “Influenza activity is increasing across the country and CDC has received reports of severe influenza illness. Clinicians are reminded to treat suspected influenza in high-risk outpatients, those with progressive disease, and all hospitalized patients with antiviral medications as soon as possible, regardless of negative rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT) results and without waiting for RT-PCR testing results. Early antiviral treatment works best, but treatment may offer benefit when started up to 4-5 days after symptom onset in hospitalized patients. Early antiviral treatment can reduce influenza morbidity and mortality.”

Furthermore, a look at the most recent map of the states adds even more to puzzle over! The incidents of sickness appear to be all over the board! That's generally not the pattern that is seen, as in most seasons the disease spreads across the US in distinct waves.

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