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CDC Flu Data Suggests Peaking…Google Flu Trends Not So Much…Either Way, Lots of Flu Going Around!

January 19, 2013

The entire United States is on fire with the flu.  Looking at either the CDC Flu Weekly or the Google Flu Trends map will tell you that however CDC lab value data suggests that perhaps the flu has peaked.

CDC lab test data suggests early peaking may be now on the decline

CDC lab test data suggests early peaking may be now on the decline

The synopsis from the CDC for “week two” notes that influenza activity remained elevated in the United States, but decreased in some areas.

  • During week 2 (January 6-12), Viral Surveillance: Of 12,360 specimens tested and reported by collaborating laboratories, 3,638 (29.4%) were positive for influenza.
  • Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was above the epidemic threshold.
  • Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths: Nine influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported.
  • Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate for the season of 18.8 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported. Among all cases, 49.6% were in adults 65 years and older.
  • Outpatient Illness Surveillance: The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 4.6%; this is above the national baseline of 2.2%. All 10 regions reported ILI above region-specific baseline levels. Thirty states and New York City experienced high ILI activity; 10 states experienced moderate activity; 7 states experienced low activity; 3 states experienced minimal activity, and the District of Columbia had insufficient data.
  • Geographic Spread of Influenza: Forty-eight states reported widespread geographic influenza activity; 2 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia reported local activity; Guam reported no influenza activity, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not report.
Week Two shows 48 states with widespread illness

Week Two shows 48 states with widespread illness (BTW, Tennessee was brown last week)

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/ Google Flu Trends shows a bit of different picture and of course with it based on flu searches rather than actual lab values there are differences.

Googles Flu Trends map as you can see is "on fire."

Googles Flu Trends map as you can see is “on fire.”

http://www.google.org/flutrends/us/#US On the Google Flu Trends site, they do do some interesting comparisons to the past several flu seasons.  One interesting comparison is to the 2009 pandemic.

Goggle Flu Trend data (based on search terms) comparing 2009 (H1N1 Pandemic) with 2012-2013

Goggle Flu Trend data (based on search terms) comparing 2009 (H1N1 Pandemic) with 2012-2013

The net-net for all of us is pretty clear:

  1. Get a flu shot if you haven’t as of yet.
  2. Exercise good cough and hand hygiene.
  3. If you are sick, stay home (please!).
  4. Consider antiviral therapy as recommended by your physician.
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