Friday, October 11, 2013

Flu season starts as CDC remains idle

Because of the government shutdown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labs and surveillance programs are idle, causing outside experts to worry that important data is being lost in regards to the fall flu season. 

According to an article published in MedPage Today, approximately 80 to 85 percent of the usual staff is on enforced leave, and that almost all of the regular apparatus that monitors flu and flu-like illness has been shut down. Information about things such as anti-viral resistance, pediatric influenza, admissions to hospital for flu or flu-like illness and mortality is not being gathered.  

As of right now, there is no “national snapshot” for this flu season.  

State health departments are currently collecting flu data, but the information is not being sent over to the CDC. With the agency not knowing what the geographic spread of the disease is, we will not understand if this season is mild or severe, if the flu has developed resistance to anti-viral medications, or is the vaccine strains match those circulating in the community.

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