health

CDC: Widespread flu activity starts to ease in a few areas

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 21, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

The 2012-13 influenza season started early and has been spreading aggressively throughout the country, public health officials say. Some hospitals are so crowded that they have had to turn away ambulances, according to news reports. But flu may have peaked in some states.

A rush to be immunized against the flu has led to spot shortages of the vaccine and the pediatric formulation of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) in certain communities, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Boston and New York declared public health emergencies due to a high prevalence of influenza-related illness.

While 24 states are reporting high levels of influenza-like activity, some areas, such as parts of the Southeast, are beginning to see a decrease in flu, according to Jan. 11 data from the CDC.

There were 20 pediatric flu-related deaths this season as of Jan. 11 and about 130 million vaccine doses distributed, the CDC said (link). Manufacturers project that they will produce 135 million doses of vaccine this season.

About 90% of the flu strains circulating are included in the vaccine, the CDC said. Although the overall effectiveness of this season’s immunization is less than ideal at 62%, vaccination is the best tool to prevent the spread of the virus, the agency added.

The CDC said there have been a lot of other respiratory viruses and a norovirus circulating through the country that could be contributing to the heavy patient loads seen in emergency departments and medical clinics. The agency encourages physicians to continue administering the flu vaccine to patients who have not yet been immunized.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story