The 2014 Seasonal Influenza Page
It’s mid-October 2014, and that means that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be updating their weekly influenza map. Since the map doesn’t normalize the relative levels of flu to population, it only gives an indication of the spread of the disease, not the severity of the outbreak. Influenza of course varies in severity from year to year, based on the prevalent strains of the virus that are circulating, and the effectiveness of the seasonal vaccine. In 2012, the seasonal outbreak was quite severe. There were a lot of news stories in the local media of triage centers being set up in regional hospitals in order to handle the higher than normal levels of disease. During that significant event, it turned out that vaccine efficacy was very close to normal, and the higher levels of disease were likely linked to lower vaccine compliance levels, and a more virulent than normal variety of virus. Last year in 2013, the flu season was very mild. Regardless, I haven’t had the flu in years, mainly because I always get a flu shot. I will be updating in the comment thread the seasonal trends. To start off with, at the end of the second week in October, there is already sporadic influenza in the majority of states, with localized (the next highest reporting level) in North Dakota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida. This seems to be slightly higher for this point in the year, in comparison to last year.