What’s New With Flu
- 2/8/18: VDH has received reports of spot shortages of some influenza antiviral medications and some influenza tests, including Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests (RIDTs) and Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). More information can be found on our Healthcare Professionals Page.
- The Virginia Healthcare Associated Infections Advisory Group strongly recommends that all healthcare workers in Virginia receive an annual influenza vaccination. For more information, please see our consensus statement.
- CDC and VDH recommend that everyone 6 months of age or older receive a flu vaccination each year, especially those who are at high risk of serious complications from the flu. For more information on vaccination, click here.
- For the 2017-2018 flu season, CDC recommends that the nasal spray flu vaccine, commonly known as “Flu Mist”, should not be used. For more information, click here.
- Are you interested in tracking your flu symptoms online and seeing how the flu is progressing where you live? Join thousands of other volunteers across the nation in monitoring the flu by registering at FluNearYou.org. You are an important part in the process!
Influenza (or “the flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza spreads mainly from person to person by droplets from the nose or throat that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There are many things that people can do to prevent themselves or their loved ones from getting or spreading the flu.
Some facts about influenza:
- An estimated 19 million influenza illnesses occur in the United States each year. From 2005-2011, influenza vaccination was estimated to prevent 13.6 million illnesses, 5.8 million medical visits, and nearly 113,000 influenza-related hospitalizations (Kostova et al., 2013).
- Annually over 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized because of the flu. People at highest risk for flu-related complications include children younger than 5 years (especially those younger than 2 years old), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people who have certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease, kidney disease, or weakened immune systems due to disease or medication.
- Each year, thousands of people in the U.S. die because of the flu (Thompson MG et al., 2010). Most of the flu-associated deaths occur in adults 65 years of age and older. More people die from complications from the flu than from any other vaccine-preventable disease.
- Kostova D, Reed C, Finelli L, et al. Influenza illness and hospitalizations averted by influenza vaccination in the United States, 2005-2011. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(6): e66312.
- Thompson MG, et al. Updated estimates of mortality associated with seasonal influenza through the 2006-2007 influenza season. MMWR. 2010;59(33): 1057-1062.