Augusta Area Update

March 30, 2012. The Augusta area has seen little flu activity this season. Area hospitals and individual practitioners report to G-LINE throughout the season, and all continue to send information about individual cases. However, there have been no reports of sustained flu activity in any Augustra area location and only one report of a small outbreak of less than 5 proven cases at a child care facilty. The central laboratory of one of the largest hospital in the region has reported only four PCR proven cases of influenza for the entire season that began in December. Warm weather generally heralds the end of the flu season, so it is unlikely that we will see significant expansion of influenza from this point.

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Past Updates for the 2011-2012 season

Dec 29, 2011.  The Augusta region has not yet entered the flu season. Like Georgia and the Nation itself, there have been only sporadic cases of influenza reported thus far. One of the largest hospitals in the region reports no positive tests for influenza and no admissions for proven influenza during the 2011-2012 flu season. The most common months for the arrival of influenza are January or February. Keep checking G-LINE for updates.

 

Past Updates for 2010-2011 Flu Season

March 11, 2011.  Flu is on the decline throughout the Augusta Region and the US. Augusta has not experienced a severe flu season. There is still flu in town, but fewer and fewer patients with flu-like illness are presenting to local emergency departments and clinics with symptoms. Local pediatricians report normal patient volume for the time of year, with fewer and fewer patients with flu symptoms. A local hospital reports no positive tests for flu out of 22 tests sent from a mix of inpatients and outpatients. Even at our peak several weeks ago, only about 20% of patients tested for flu actually had it. This illustrates the fact that flu-like illness (ILI) is not specific for flu; many patients with ILI are infected with viruses other than flu, none of which respond to antiviral medications for flu.

Flu is not yet gone from our community, but the season is near an end.

February 25, 2011.   Flu is in Augusta but we are not experiencing a particularly severe season. CSRA Emergency Department volumes have not consistently risen above their seasonal baselines. Local office pediatricians have not reported a large influx of children with flu symptoms. There have been reports of increased levels of flu like illness in college students in the past week. In a mix of inpatients and outpatients at a local Augusta hospital this week there were 4 tests positive for flu A and three positive for flu B out of  42 tests performed (17%) This is the highest weekly rate of positive tests in this hospital during the 2010-2011 season, but this is well below the national level of 31%. This means that some of the patients who have been evaluated in our local clinics and emergency departments have had true flu, but most have not.

Flu has arrived in Augusta. So far the number of patients is relatively low.

February 18, 2011  Flu is in Augusta but we are not experiencing a particularly severe season. CSRA Emergency Department volumes have not consistently risen above their seasonal baselines. Local office pediatricians have not reported a large influx of children with flu symptoms. The rate of positive tests for flu in a mix of inpatients and outpatients at one local hospital was between 10% and 15% for the past two weeks. This means that some of the patients who have been evaluated in our local clinics and emergency departments have had true flu, but most have not.

It appears that although influenza has arrived in Augusta, so far the number of patients is relatively low. However, this may change as the season progresses. We should reach our peak in flu sometime in the next 2-4 weeks, with a rapid decline thereafter.

January 29, 2011  Augusta area Emergency Departments continue to see a substantial number of patients with influenza-like illness, but most do not have influenza.   One large local hospital reported only one positive rapid test for influenza out of 21 samples from a mix of inpatients and outpatients two weeks ago, and 2 positive results out of 25 last week. CSRA Emergency Department volumes have not consistently risen above their seasonal baselines. Local office pediatricians have not reported a large influx of children with flu symptoms, and most flu tests performed have been negative. High  levels of influenza activity generally correlate with high patient volumes in emergency departments and clinics.  

It appears that although influenza has arrived in Augusta, so far the number of patients is relatively low. However, it does appear that a sharp peak in flu activity will probably occur in the next 2-4 weeks.

January 21, 2011  Augusta area Emergency Departments continue to see a substantial number of patients with influenza-like illness, but most do not have influenza.   One large local hospital reported only one positive rapid test for influenza out of 21 samples from a mix of inpatients and outpatients over the past week. CSRA Emergency Department volumes have not consistently risen above their seasonal baselines. Local office pediatricians have not reported a large influx of children with flu symptoms, and most flu tests performed have been negative. High  levels of influenza activity generally correlate with high patient volumes in emergency departments and clinics.  

It appears that although influenza has arrived in Augusta, so far the number of patients is relatively low. Georgia reported widespread flu activity just two weeks ago and appeared to be leading the nation into the yearly flu epidemic. However, Georgia was downgraded to “regional” activity last week as a surge in hospitalized flu patients in the Atlanta metro area in early December appears to have abated somewhat.

January 13, 2011  Augusta area Emergency Departments and clinics have reported an increase in influenza-like illness (ILI) over the past several weeks, but it is not clear how much of this is due to influenza.  CSRA Emergency Department volumes have not consistently risen above their seasonal baselines. Generally high levels of influenza activity correlate with high volumes in area emergency departments and clinics.  The proportion of rapid tests positive for flu in one large local hospital remains low, with 3/18 and 5/23 over the past two weeks.

It appears that although influenza has arrived in Augusta, so far the number of patients is relatively low. Georgia reported widespread flu activity just two weeks ago and appeared to be leading the nation into the yearly flu epidemic. However, Georgia was downgraded to “regional” activity this week as a surge in hospitalized flu patients in the Atlanta metro area in early December appears to have abated somewhat.

December 31 2010  Augusta area Emergency Departments and clinics have reported an increase in influenza-like illness over the past several weeks, but it is not clear how much of this is due to influenza. The laboratory from one large area hospital reported 5 specimens positive for flu last week out of 24 specimens submitted. CSRA Emergency Department volumes have not consistently risen above their seasonal baselines.

It appears that although influenza has arrived in Augusta, so far the number of patients is relatively low. That may change once children head back to school after the Christmas break. Georgia is one of only eight states in the United States reporting widespread influenza activity this week, but there has been a slight decrease in the rate of influenza-like illness statewide over the past two weeks.

December 10 2010   Augusta area Emergency Departments and clinics have reported some influenza-like illness over the past month, particularly in children, but none are reporting unusual levels for the time of year. One area hospital reported the admission of a child with proven influenza to its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit last week. There have been very few influenza tests positive for flu in local labs. Although there is some influenza activity in the CSRA, it does not appear that we are in the midst of a severe  outbreak.

November/December would be an unusual time for the annual influenza epidemic to arrive. Generally the period of peak influenza activity is sometime between January and March each year.

 


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cdc situation overview

Each week CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in graphical form in a report called FluView. See the latest update by clicking here.

For an in-depth discussion about the national flu situation this week, click here.