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Influenza in the News

For articles on the spread of influenza in various local communities, visit our news map.
Update: Influenza Activity — United States, September 30, 2012–February 9, 2013
CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (February 22, 2013)

Influenza activity in the United States began to increase in mid-November and remained elevated through February 9, 2013. During that time, influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated overall, followed by influenza B viruses. This report summarizes U.S. influenza activity since the beginning of the 2012–13 influenza season More »

Pregnant Women Vaccinated During 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Flu Outbreak Had Reduced Risk Of Preterm Birth
Medical News Today (February 21, 2013)

Pregnant women who received the H1N1 influenza vaccine during the 2009 pandemic were less likely to have premature babies, and their babies weighed more on average. More »
WHO recommends new B strain for next season's flu vaccine
CIDRAP News (February 21, 2013)

The World Health Organization today recommended changing one of the three vaccine strains for the Northern Hemisphere's next flu season, based on the changing profile of circulating influenza B strains. More »
Healthcare Providers May Be at Greater Risk of Flu Exposure
Medical News Today (February 4, 2013)

Some people with the flu emit more of the air-borne virus than others, suggesting that the current recommendations for infection control among health care providers may not be adequate, according to a new study from researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. More »

Climate Change and Influenza: The Likelihood of Early and Severe Influenza Seasons Following Warmer Than Average Winters
PLOS Currents: Influenza (January 28, 2013)

The 2012-13 influenza season had an unusually early and severe start in the US, succeeding the record mild 2011-12 influenza season, which occurred during the fourth warmest winter on record. Our analysis of climate and past US influenza epidemic seasons between 1997-98 to present indicates that warm winters tend to be followed by severe epidemics with early onset, and that these patterns are seen for both influenza A and B. More »

Local Public Health Departments Tackle Flu
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Public Health Blog (January 28, 2013)

NewPublicHealth spoke with Paul Etkind, MPH, DrPH, Senior Director of Infectious Diseases at the National Association of County and City Health Officials about the role local health departments play in educating communities about flu prevention and helping to facilitate treatment. More »

Rebranding "Get Your Flu Shot": Localities Test New Messages
Governing (January 25, 2013)

Quick: how many "Get Your Flu Shot" signs have you walked past in the last, say, month and completely ignored? Dozens? Hundreds?

You aren''t alone. And it''s proving to be quite a conundrum for local health departments who are stuck between not wanting to sound like alarmists and wanting to protect the public against a disease that kills as many as 30,000 Americans annually. More »

Winter Vomiting Alert: New Strain of Norovirus On the Rise
NBC News (January 24, 2013)

A nasty new strain of norovirus, a highly contagious gut bug, has circled the globe and landed in the U.S., where it's now the leading cause of what's known indelicately as "winter vomiting disease." More »
Pace of Flu Vaccinations No Greater Than Last Season
New York Times (January 21, 2013)

The percentage of Americans who had received a flu shot by the end of the 2011-12 flu season was 47.6. More »
Flu Season 'Bad One for the Elderly,' CDC Says
Associated Press (January 18, 2013)

The number of older people hospitalized with the flu has risen sharply, prompting federal officials to take unusual steps to make more flu medicines available and to urge wider use of them as soon as symptoms appear. More »
Scientists Try To Thwart Flu Virus By Resetting Its Clock
NPR (January 17, 2013)

A study in Cell Reports describes how researchers tapped into the flu's internal clock as they search for ways to keep the virus from spreading. More »
CDC Says No Worrisome Flu Patterns in Kids, Vaccine Readily Available
CIDRAP News (January 16, 2013)

Despite the early start to the flu season and widespread activity in most states, no unusual disease patterns have emerged among children, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday. More »
Policy Recommendation Approved For Immunizations For All Health Care Providers
Medical News Today (January 16, 2013)

The American College of Physicians has approved a policy recommendation that all health care providers be immunized against influenza; diphtheria; hepatitis B; measles, mumps, and rubella; pertussis (whooping cough); and varicella according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Adult Immunization Schedule. More »
Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies
IOM Report (January 16, 2013)

This report is the most comprehensive examination of the immunization schedule to date. The IOM committee uncovered no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule. More »
FDA Approves New Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Made Using Novel Technology
FDA News Release (January 16, 2013)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has approved Flublok, the first trivalent influenza vaccine made using an insect virus (baculovirus) expression system and recombinant DNA technology. Flublok is approved for the prevention of seasonal influenza in people 18 through 49 years of age. More »
Report: Preparedness Steps Hedge Against Busy Flu Seasons
CIDRAP News (January 15, 2013)

Low demand for flu vaccine in previous years could limit the supply of vaccine, leaving the nation unprepared for a year when levels are higher, according to a new analysis of flu vaccine trends and policies by Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group. More »
Flu Wave Stresses Out Hospitals
NPR (January 15, 2013)

It's still too soon to say whether this is a historically bad flu season. But it's already clear that emergency rooms around the country are filled with a feverish throng that is much larger than the last time around. More »

Hospitals Crack Down on Workers Refusing Flu Shots
Associated Press (January 14, 2013)

Most doctors and nurses do get flu shots. But in the past two months, at least 15 nurses and other hospital staffers in four states have been fired for refusing, and several others have resigned, according to affected workers, hospital authorities and published reports. More »

A Snapshot of Influenza Activity in All 50 States
Associated Press (January 13, 2013) 

A snapshot of flu activity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as of January 13, 2013. More »

New York Flu Outbreak Declared Public Health Emergency by Cuomo
Reuters (January 12, 2013)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency on Saturday, giving pharmacists permission to administer flu vaccinations to more people as officials seek to stem the worst flu outbreak in that state in several years. More »
Flu Epidemic: Officials, Drug Stores Say Call Ahead Before Getting Vaccine
ABC News (January 12, 2013)

The heightened demand for the flu vaccine has caused some providers to run out of doses, however officials said there are still plenty to go around and are encouraging people to call ahead before driving to a local clinic to get immunized. More »

CDC's Early-Season Look Finds Flu Vaccine 62% Effective
 CIDRAP News (January 11, 2013)

An early assessment of this year's influenza vaccine shows it has provided a "moderate" level of protection at 62% so far this season, according to the CDC. More »

Early Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, January 2013
CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (January 11, 2013)

The early onset of the 2012–13 influenza season offered an opportunity to provide an early vaccine effectiveness estimate. Overall, the estimate suggests that the 2012–13 influenza vaccine has moderate effectiveness against circulating influenza viruses. More »

Flu Spread Opens Hospital Wings in U.S. as Cases Rise
Bloomberg Business Week (January 11, 2013)

Hospitals in the U.S. are adding more beds and boosting staff to meet increasing admissions of patients stricken by the influenza outbreak that prompted Boston to declare a health emergency in the city. More »

700 Cases of Flu Prompt Boston to Declare Emergency
USA Today (January 10, 2013)

Boston declared a flu emergency Wednesday morning after health officials reported 700 confirmed cases in the city, 10 times the total number for the previous flu season. More »

With Flu Spreading, Hospitals Taking Drastic Measures
NBC Chicago (January 9, 2013)

As the nation fights its way through the worst flu season in more than a decade, health care workers across the country are taking extreme—in some cases unprecedented--measures to combat its spread. More »

Worst Flu Season in a Decade Could Cost Employers Billions
Fox Business (January 9, 2013)

In what is already being called the worst flu season in a decade, an abnormally high number of influenza cases could end up costing employers billions of dollars. The likely increase would be related to higher health-care costs and an expected decline in production as more employees miss work due to sick days. More »

Flu Widespread, Leading a Range of Winter’s Ills
New York Times (January 9, 2013)

The country is in the grip of three emerging flu or flulike epidemics: an early start to the annual flu season with an unusually aggressive virus, a surge in a new type of norovirus, and the worst whooping cough outbreak in 60 years. More »

Many Spanish-Speaking Hispanics Go Un-Immunized
Reuters (January 26, 2011)

A new study reveals that older Hispanic adults who primarily speak Spanish are less likely than older Caucasian adults to seek influenza or pneumococcal vaccination. More »

Vaccination against Maternal Influenza Linked to Flu Protection in Infants
(November 7, 2010)

A new study published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests that infants whose mothers receive influenza vaccines during pregnancy are less likely to be infected with flu or hospitalized for respiratory illnesses in their first six months of life. More »

Early Employer-Based Flu Vaccinations Can Protect Health and Improve Company’s Bottom Line
APHA (November 2, 2010)

A presentation at American Public Health Association meeting in Denver, CO, suggests that early employment-based influenza immunization has economic benefits.  Specifically, the analyses show that getting an employee immunized in November instead of December can save an employer between $63 and $95 per person. Vaccinating an entire firm of 150 employees earlier could save a business between $9,450 and $14,250. More »

The Public's Response to the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic
New England Journal of Medicine (June 3, 2010)

Contains the results of 20 polls of the general public, looking at the response of the public to H1N1 during the early, middle, and late stages of the pandemic. More »