According to recent reports, the 2019-2020 influenza season is off to the fastest start it has experienced in more than a decade, and it is leaving behind destruction in its wake.
2019-2020 Influenza Update
The 2019-2020 flu season is off to a bad start, and is looking like it will be worse, and potentially run longer than last year.
The problem started with, well, a historically early start.
According to a press release issued by the office of Congresswoman Dianna Degette;
New data released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that this year’s flu season is off to the fastest start in more than a decade.
Last year’s 21-week flu season was the longest since the federal government started tracking flu season durations more than 20 years ago.
Some health experts say the unusually early start to this year’s flu season could be a sign of a more severe season to come.
As of the writing of this article:
- Sixteen states are reporting widespread activity.
- Fourteen, including Puerto Rico, are reporting regional activity.
- Seventeen reported local activity, and;
- Only three states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were reporting sporadic activity.
Sadly, the hardest hit so far this season are among the most vulnerable--children.
Children's Hospital New Orleans has had more than 1,400 kids come to its facilities with the flu as of Dec. 4, a jarring figure considering all but nine cases were confirmed by that point last flu season.
Ochsner Health System, which is the largest nonprofit health system in Louisiana, recorded a whopping 6,909 flu cases in its facilities in November alone.
That’s a 1,385% increase from November 2018.
The flu tends to be particularly problematic for children and the elderly.
This year, children are the biggest victims, due to the presence of the influenza B strain.
Influenza B most commonly affects children.
Unfortunately, this early in the season, most people have not received their vaccinations, resulting in abnormally high rates of infection and hospitalization.
According to CNN;
At Children's [Hospital New Orleans], for example, all but 46 of their 1,433 cases have been influenza B.
When flu hits this early, not everyone is vaccinated.
This season, at least five children have died of the flu nationwide, according to the CDC.
Estimating the Human Cost of Influenza
The death of any child is a cause for sadness, especially where it may have been preventable.
The average toll on the lives of children in the U.S. associated with influenza is approximately 100 per year.
However, the last few years have been quite brutal.
According to a 2018 report published by NBC News;
One more death was reported this week, making 172 child deaths reported for the 2017-18 flu season.
CDC experts have described the 2017-2018 season as a high severity season, with influenza-like-illness remaining at or above baseline for 19 consecutive weeks, record-breaking flu hospitalization rates, and elevated pneumonia and influenza mortality for 16 weeks.
Last season, 110 children died from flu in the U.S. In the 2009 pandemic of H1N1 swine flu, that new strain killed 282 children, and 358 children in total died from influenza that season.
Approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season.
More must be done, and we can do better.
Protecting School-Age Children From the Flu
Children are most likely to acquire the flu from their environment--school or daycare.
Given it is demonstrable that not all children have received their vaccinations yet, a more proactive solution is called for by facilities maintenance and management staff, including:
- Routine deep cleaning of all occupied spaces with a heavy emphasis on cross-contamination prevention.
- Daily disinfection of surfaces, especially well-documented high-contact areas.
- The enforcement of regular high-quality hand hygiene among staff, and;
- Ongoing education for children and parents regarding the importance of hand hygiene and hand awareness.
References & Resources
The influenza seasons in the U.S. appear to be getting progressively worse.
Influenza vaccinations, while highly recommended, will only protect the inoculated, not prevent the spread of the virus.
Studies have demonstrated that daily no-touch disinfection services combined with routine high-performance cleaning with a focus on health prevents outbreaks while reducing the financial burden on school districts, daycare businesses, and local tax payers.
Retaining the expertise of a skilled service provider equipped with the tools necessary to facilitate these programs is a proven method for ensuring the health and safety of everyone this flu season.
Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450
In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410
In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777