Georgia ILI Curve March 30, 2012

2012 GA flu_update_week 12 570

This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health,updated March 30, 2012,  shows visits for influenza-like illness in our state through March 23. There is generally a one week lage between data collection and availability to the public.

Clinic and Emergency Department visits for Influenza-like-illness (ILI) in Georgia peaked about 4.5% in December of 2011, and have been trending down ever since.  Influenza activity in Georgia has been in the “minimal” range since the beginning of the new year. Georgia has largely missed the flu season this year, as has most of the US, but the season is not quite over. There have been no flu related deaths reported to the Georgia Division of Public Health this year.

For the complete weekly influenza update from the Georgia Divison of Public Health please click here.

How is this curve constructed?       Each week a group of “sentinel providers” around the country reports to CDC on how many of their patients in emergency departments and clinics have illnesses that match the CDC case definition for “influenza-like illness”, or ILI. ILI is defined as fever PLUS either cough or sore throat that cannot be attributed to another cause such as Strep throat (i.e. Strep throat is NOT an ILI). This data is collected at CDC and posted.

What does the curve mean?     The ILI curve does not tell us the total number of people with flu, it tells us what proportion of patients around the country have an illness like the flu. ILI occurs at a low background rate of 1-2%  throughout the year, even when flu is not circulating. Years of experience has shown that when the ILI curve peaks in the winter, it closely correlates with actual influenza activity as determined by more tedious and expensive viral cultures. Thus, the ILI curve provides a convenient way to track the progress of an influenza outbreak. During the winter (i.e., flu season), most people with ILI actually do have the flu. During the summer and autumn months, patients with ILI almost invariably are infected with other respiratory viruses that are not influenza. The summer of 2009 was a major exception to this rule, reflecting the spread of pandemic flu due to 2009 H1N1 during the US summer months.

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Past Updates

2011 7 Feb 25 update 570

Feb 25, 2011

This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health,updated February 25, 2011,  shows visits for influenza-like illness in our state through February 19. There is generally a one week lage between data collection and availability to the public.

Clinic and Emergency Department visits for Influenza-like-illness (ILI) in Georgia plateaued at 6% through athe month of February, well below the 8% peak we saw in December during an early appearance of influenza B. Flu B  began to decrease in January, and now flu A accounts for 75% of isolates in our state.  There has been one death due to flu reported in Georgia in the past week, and only eleven total deaths since the first of December. It appears that the Atlanta metro area is experiencing a second spike in hospitalizations due to flu, a slightly higher spike than the one due to flu B in December.

Although Georgia’s flu season started a few weeks before the that of the rest of the country, we do not appear to be experiencing a particularly severe outbreak thus far.

2-12-2011   This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health (updated February 19, 2011) shows visits for influenza-like illness in our state through February 12. Clinic and Emergency Department visits for Influenza-like-illness (ILI) in Georgia appear to have leveled off at just under 6% over the past two weeks, still well below the 8% peak we saw in December during an early appearance of influenza B. Flu B  began to decrease in January, and now flu A accounts for 75% of isolates in our state.  There have been no deaths due to flu reported in Georgia in the past two weeks, and only ten deaths since the first of December.

Although Georgia’s flu season started a few weeks before the that of the rest of the country, we do not appear to be experiencing a particularly severe outbreak. Georgia is once again reporting widespread activity geographically, but the outbreak is not particularly intense so far.

1-29-2011  This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health (updated January 29, 2011) shows visits for influenza-like illness in our state through January 22. Influenza-like-illness (ILI) in Georgia increased slightly over the past week after declining for each of the prior 4 weeks.  Early season flu activity began to decline in Georgia starting in late December. Although influenza positive tests reported to Public Health increased sharply over the past week, hospitalizations and deaths have not risen substantially.  

Early season flu activity around the nation and in Georgia was dominated by influenza B. This “false season” peaked in mid-December in Georgia. Flu B has now been replaced by a predominance of influenza A. It is likely that Georgia’s numbers will continue to increase  as influenza A spreads throughout the state.  Flu season is not over; it has barely begun.

1-22-2011 This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health (updated January 22, 2011) shows visits for influenza-like illness in our state through January 15. Influenza activity has declined in Georgia for each of the past 4 weeks after an early season peak in mid-December. Georgia led the nation in flu activity in November and December, but in the past two weeks the state has been downgraded from “widespread” activity to “regional”. Both hospitalizations and deaths in Georgia have shown steady declines over the past four weeks as well. Data from Georgia DPH indicate that much of the surge in hospitalizations in December was due to influenza in the Atlanta metro area.

Early season flu activity around the nation and in Georgia was dominated by influenza B. This has now been replaced by a predominance of influenza A. It is likely that Georgia’s numbers will begin to increase again in the next 2-4 weeks as influenza A spreads throughout the state. Don’t be fooled by the Georgia ILI curve. Flu season is not over; it has barely begun.

1-13-2011  This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health (updated January 13 2011) shows visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) in our state through January 7. The Georgia ILI curve began to rise in middle October, and by middle November appeared to be heading to levels consistent with the arrival of an early flu season. However, ILI activity has been variable since then. A small peak at 6% ILI was seen in mid-November, followed by a second larger peak at 8% in mid-December. In the past 3 weeks, ILI activity in Georgia appears to have declined again and is currently at about 3.5%. Daily percent of ILI visits generally peak at 10% or higher at the height of the influenza season.

Data from Georgia DPH indicate that there was a surge in hospitalizations due to influenza in the Atlanta metro area in November and early December, but those numbers have declined steeply in each of the past three weeks.

1-07-2011: This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health (updated January 7  2011) shows visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) in our state through week 52. The Georgia ILI curve began to rise in middle October, and by middle November appeared to be heading to levels consistent with the arrival of an early flu season. However, ILI activity has been variable since then. A small peak at 6% ILI was seen in mid-November, followed by a second larger peak at 8% in mid-December. In the past 1-2 weeks, ILI activity in Georgia appears to have declined again and is currently at about 5%. Daily percent of ILI visits generally peak at 10% or higher at the height of the influenza season.

Data from Georgia DPH indicate that there was a surge in hospitalizations due to influenza in the Atlanta metro area in November and early December, but those numbers have declined steeply in each of the past two weeks.

12-10-2010:  This graph from the Georgia Division of Public Health (updated 12-10-2010) shows visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) in our state through week 48. The Georgia ILI curve began to rise in middle October, and by middle November appeared to be heading to levels consistent with the arrival of an early flu season. However, in the past week influenza activity in Georgia and in the Southeast have declined. CDC maps show that Georgia still remained in “regional” activity by the middle of November, but we have not yet reached “widespread” activity. Regional activity was also reported this week in Virginia and Kentucky. Daily percent of ILI visits generally peak at 10% or higher at the height of the influenza season.

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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.