Week 4 Flu Report: 53 Pediatric Deaths Nationwide But None in Kane County
Flu surveillance reports released today (Friday, Feb. 2, 2018) reveal no flu-related pediatric deaths in Kane County, but the number has grown to 53 nationwide.
Seventeen influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to Centers of Disease Control during week 4, which ran from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27, 2018.
The CDC is emphasizing this week that the flu vaccination significantly reduces a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
Kane County’s surveillance report, which includes the collection of data from hospital emergency rooms, laboratories, and public schools, reports the following aggregate measures:
- Among five reporting hospital emergency rooms, 14.4 percent of visits were for influenza-like illness. That represents another jump up from the previous week.
- During Week 4, six labs reported that 717 of 1,804 (39.7 percent) of specimens tested for influenza were positive. Of these 717 specimens: 623 (86.9 percent) were positive for Influenza A, 88 (12.3 percent) were positive for Influenza B, and 6 (0.8 percent) were positive for Influenza A/B. No other specimen tested positive for the week ending Jan. 27, 2018.
- The ILI absenteeism rate for public schools in Kane County was 0.77 percent. No public school was closed for increased ILI activity.
- As of the week ending Jan. 27, there have been 39 cases of influenza-related ICU admission reported to the Health Department. No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported.
- To date, 15 outbreaks of influenza have been reported in Long-Term Care/Assisted Living facilities in Kane County.
KCHD is offering walk-in flu clinics at its Aurora office, 1240 N. Highland Ave. Please call the Bee Wize Immunize phone-line at (866) 233-9493.
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control
During week 4, influenza activity increased in the United States. Click on the links below for more information in each category.
- Viral Surveillance: The most frequently identified influenza virus subtype reported by public health laboratories during week 4 was influenza A(H3). The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories remained elevated.
- Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was above the system-specific epidemic threshold in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System.
- Influenza-associated Pediatric Deaths: Seventeen influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported, one of which occurred during the 2015-2016 season.
- Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate of 51.4 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported.
- Outpatient Illness Surveillance:The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 7.1 percent, which is above the national baseline of 2.2 percent. All 10 regions reported ILI at or above region-specific baseline levels. New York City, the District of Columbia, and 42 states experienced high ILI activity; Puerto Rico and two states experienced moderate ILI activity; three states experienced low ILI activity; and three states experienced minimal ILI activity.
- Geographic Spread of Influenza:The geographic spread of influenza in Puerto Rico and 48 states was reported as widespread; Guam and one state reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and one state reported local activity; and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported sporadic activity.
New Flu Information for 2017-2018
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. In 2017, a study in Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination also significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. This page summarizes information for the 2017-2018 flu season.
What’s New This Flu Season?
A few things are new this season:
- The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses (the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated).
- Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
- A quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine (“Flublok Quadrivalent” RIV) is newly available this season. (Last season, only trivalent recombinant flu vaccine was available.)
- A quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine, “Afluria Quadrivalent” IIV, was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published.
- The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.
- The trivalent formulation of Afluria is recommended for people 5 years and older (from 9 years and older) in order to match the Food and Drug Administration package insert.
- For the first time, a cell-grown H3N2 vaccine reference virus was used to produce the H3N2 component of the cell-based vaccine, Flucelvax. (The remaining Flucelvax vaccine components were manufactured using egg-grown reference viruses.) For more information, see the questions: “Why is it significant that a cell-grown vaccine reference virus (H3N2) was used to produce flu vaccine?” and “Is flu vaccine made using a cell-grown reference virus and cell-based technology more effective than vaccine made using an egg-grown reference virus and egg-based technology?”
When Should I Get Vaccinated?
You should get a flu vaccine now, if you haven’t gotten one already this season. It’s best to get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.
Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.