The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported influenza activity increased in the United States during the second week of January. Forty-nine out of 50 states are reporting widespread influenza.

Florida map/National Atlas of the United States
Florida map/National Atlas of the United States

This includes Florida where state health officials say flu activity is high and continues to increase. Officials say a review of historical data indicate current activity is now above previous seasonal flu peaks.

Thirty-four outbreaks were reported: 20 influenza and 14 Influenza-like illness (ILI); 107 outbreaks of influenza and ILI have been reported since the start of the 2017-18 season. More outbreaks have been reported than in previous seasons at this time.

Nearly all of the outbreaks (94%) reported so far this season have been in facilities serving people at higher risk for complications due to influenza infection (children and adults aged ≥65 years).

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Visits to emergency departments among pregnant women, and adults aged ≥65 years continued to increase sharply and remained well above peak activity observed during the previous seasons. These groups are at high risk for severe complications from influenza infection.

The Florida Department of Health recommends that sick people stay home until fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and that all people exercise good handwashing practices.

Related: Florida reports 2nd human rabies death in recent months

Those who have not been vaccinated should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Though flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season, flu vaccines are safe and are the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications.

The CDC recommends the use of antiviral treatment as soon as possible for all hospitalized, severely ill, and people who are at higher risk for complications with suspect influenza: children <2 years old, adults ≥65 years old, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions. Treatment should be administered within 48 hours of illness onset (but treatment administered after this period can still be beneficial).

Influenza A (H3) has been the most common strain of influenza reported in Florida and nationwide.


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