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Jan 7, 2015

04:36:52 GMT--Biological Hazard - North-America - USA



EDIS Number: BH-20150101-46513-USA

Date / time: 01/01/2015 04:42:06 [UTC]

Event: Biological Hazard

Area: North-America

Country: USA

State/County: Multistates

Location: [Nationwide]

Number of Deads: 837 person(s)

Number of Injured: N/A

Number of Infected: N/A

Number of Missing: N/A

Number of Affected: N/A

Number of Evacuated: N/A

Damage level: N/A



Description:



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently indicated that the flu has reached an epidemic level within the United States, with most of the cases occurring in the South and Midwest. The CDC said cases of influenza continue to increase and the proportion of deaths related to influenza has reached the epidemic threshold. Fifteen pediatric deaths have been attribute d to the flu so far during this year's flu season. The flu season lasts from October until mid-May, but peaks in the winter months. Currently, the flu has spread to 36 states with 22 states experiencing high levels of flu-like activity. Influenza A (H3N3) is the most common type of flu people are testing positive for in the United States. During the week ending on Dec. 20, of the 21,858 specimens tested, 28.1 percent came back positive for flu. Flu season in Alabama typically peaks in December and, like nearly half the country, numbers of cases have gone from moderate to high within the past month. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health website, the geographic spread of influenza-like illness in Alabama is widespread. The CDC has indicated that cases are only expected to increase in the coming weeks, which is in part being attributed to a somewhat ineffective flu shot. Earlier this year, the CDC predicted a severe season, citing that half the H3N2 viruses analyzed are drift variants, which make them different from the season's vaccine and lessening the vaccine's ability to protect against the viruses. However, the CDC still strongly urges people to get vaccinated. If a vaccinated individual contracts the flu, they are likely to have a less severe case. The vaccine will also protect against other strains of the flu virus that become more common at different times of the flu season. The hospitalization rate is highest among those who are 65 years of age or older. About 38 in 100,000 people over 65 years old are being hospitalized for the flu. Steve Pearce, spokesperson for Southeast Alabama Medical Center, said cases of the flu at the hospital have increased during the past month. He said everyone in the hospital is aware of the high occurrences of flu and they are taking extra precautions to prevent transmission. During the month of December, about 9 percent of all cases coming into the emergency room at SAMC were related to the flu or flu-like symptoms. On average, 15 people sought treatment for flu-like symptoms at the emergency room each day during December. An average of one patient was admitted to the hospital each day with influenza. Pearce said in the days prior to Christmas, the emergency room saw a spike in the number of people coming in with flu symptoms. In the days after Christmas, he said things seemed to have leveled off. For the entire month of December, the SAMC emergency room treated 463 people for flu or flu-like symptoms.



Event updates:

Situation Update No. 2 on 2015-01-06 at 04:36:48.

Situation Update No. 1 on 2015-01-01 at 10:12:24.


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