It is the holidays – time for lots of parties, get-togethers, family gatherings and travel! All of those things that flu viruses love!
The flu is heating up across the U.S. The CDC issues a weekly update appropriately titled “Flu Weekly” that lets us know how the illness is progressing across this great land – and just in town for the holidays it has really kicked in.
There are two maps to check out with slightly different perspectives. The first (below) looks at geographic spread across the U.S. Twenty-nine states reported widespread geographic influenza activity; 12 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and 5 states reported local activity; 3 states reported sporadic activity; Guam reported no influenza activity, and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 1 state did not report.
The second looks at data collected in Data collected in ILINet are used to produce a measure of ILI activity* by state. Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits in a state due to ILI and are compared to the average percent of ILI visits that occur during spring and fall weeks with little or no influenza virus circulation. Activity levels range from minimal, which would correspond to ILI activity from outpatient clinics being below the average, to high, which would correspond to ILI activity from outpatient clinics being much higher than average.
So what is a festive holiday person to do? Exercise a bit of caution – wash hands frequently, carry a little hand sanitizer on your person, don’t touch your face and be careful in those germ-laden vehicles such as planes, buses and trains!
And oh yes, Merry Christmas!