Annual influenza epidemics follow a winter seasonal pattern in the United States with typical activity peaking during late December to March. Surveillance of influenza activity is important to guide prevention and control activities, vaccine strain selection, and patient care. In addition, surveillance activities help to monitor and prepare for the impact of influenza on the healthcare system. Influenza surveillance in California is particularly important to monitor for importation of novel strains of influenza due to our coastal location with several ports of entry for flights and shipping from Asia, as well as our other international borders.
Surveillance for influenza activity in Orange County includes the monitoring of the following components year-round:
influenza viruses: specimens are submitted from participating hospitals, physicians, and laboratories for tracking and strain-typing
pneumonia and influenza deaths: death certificates are reviewed for deaths from pneumonia or influenza
emergency room saturation: the hours that emergency rooms are "on diversion" or closed to new patients because of saturation
severe influenza and deaths: are reported by health care providers and hospital infection control professionals
outbreaks of respiratory illness: are investigated and control measures are instituted.
enhanced surveillance for human cases of avian influenza: health care providers are requested to report any patients with fever and respiratory symptoms who traveled to affected areas in the 7-10 days prior to symptom onset (specific criteria will be distributed as novel strains are identified).
In addition, data on hospital admissions for pneumonia and influenza from one Orange County hospital is included in the California Department of Public Health weekly influenza report. Data from all these components are analyzed weekly, summarized, and compared with state and national trends. Other enhanced surveillance may be implemented as needed similar to what was done in 2009-2010 during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
ACIP Does NOT Recommend Live Attenuated Influenza "Nasal Spray" Vaccine during the 2015-16 Influenza Season
(last updated 6/29/2016)
On June 22, 2016, CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of an interim recommendation that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) NOT be used for the upcoming 2016-2017 seasons. This vote comes in response to surveillance data indicating that LAIV provided minimal protection against influenza during the last three influenza seasons. LAIV was relatively ineffective (in comparison with the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV or flu shot)) in protecting against influenza A H1n1 infection during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons. The IIV continues to be recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. The final recommendations for influenza vaccination during the upcoming season will be published in an upcoming edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
For Physicians and Other Health Care Providers
We are actively recruiting physicians and other health care providers to participate as sentinel providers for influenza surveillance. For more information, please email:EPI@ochca.com. To receive our influenza newsletter, please email EPI@ochca.com.
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