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Flu Season Off to an Early Start

December 5, 2019

Now is the time to step up disinfection protocols at your facility, especially if you’re in the south. The 2019-2020 flu season started early this year and is spreading quickly, with Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia—as well as Puerto Rico—reporting very high flu activity, according to the latest influenza report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the same time period last year, only two states had reached the highest level of flu activity. In the past 10 flu seasons, there have never been this many places with the highest level of flu activity by the end of November.

The flu is spreading quickly, with 10 states reporting widespread activity in the week ending November 23, compared to six states the previous week. Hospitals in the south have treated more cases of the flu this November, with Ochsner Health System, the largest nonprofit health system in Louisiana, reporting 6,909 cases—1,385% more cases than it treated in November 2018, CNN reports.

So far, the most prominent flu strains include Influenza B, H1N1, and H3N2, with Influenza B a common strain among children. This strain is typically more severe in children than adults and usually appears in relatively small numbers toward the end of the season. However, it is making an early appearance, with all but 46 of the 1,433 cases at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans verified as Influenza B. Last year at this time Children’s Hospital had treated nine patients for flu.

Overall, children are being hit hard this season, with the CDC reporting at least five children have died of the flu.

Do your part to help prevent the spread of flu germs in your facility. Learn nine strategies to eliminate flu germs in the restroom.

 

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