Flu Activity in Michigan Upgraded to Widespread

As broadcast on the Michigan Health Alert Network (MIHAN) today, flu activity in Michigan has been upgraded from “Regional” to “Widespread” – the highest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s levels.

This status upgrade is due to recent and abrupt increases in influenza activity in all regions of the state.  In the past week, a two- to three-fold increase was observed over the previous week.  School outbreaks and closures related to influenza-like illnesses are being reported from most regions of the state.  Current activity is nearing levels normally seen at the peak of previous influenza seasons.

Influenza activity is reported via the Michigan Disease Surveillance System, the emergency department syndromic system, clinical laboratories, and influenza sentinel providers.  Volunteer sentinel providers report the total number of patient visits to their facilities each week, as well as the number of patient visits for influenza-like illness, and collect respiratory specimens from a sample of patients with influenza-like illness for virus culture at no charge by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDC).  Medical providers of any specialty in nearly any setting who are likely to see patients with influenza-like illness can be sentinels.  If you are interested in being a sentinel physician, click here for more information.

Medical providers are reminded to promptly report any congregate setting outbreaks, influenza hospitalizations, unusually severe influenza cases, or potential influenza deaths to their local health department of the Michigan Department of Community Health Division of Communicable Diseases at 517.335.8165.

The influenza vaccine supply continues to be challenging for seasonal and 2009 H1N1; vaccinate as vaccine becomes available and throughout the flu season.

Be sure to check the MDCH influenza web site regularly for updated information and guidance:  www.michigan.gov/flu. Also, please visit the MPCA Seasonal and H1N1 Flu Information Center for more information and resources from a variety of organizations: www.mpca.net/flu.

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