The 2019-2020 influenza outbreak is on pace to surpass the 2017-2018 season, making it one of the worst in the last ten years.
Influenza Continues to Spread
The 2019-2020 influenza season outbreak started early with an unseasonably high peak of Influenza B cases being reported by healthcare officials.
Due to the early start, many were not vaccinated and were taken unawares and hit particularly hard.
At one point late in 2019, due to the early onset of the outbreak, some health officials were predicting that the outbreak might also peak early in late December.
Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case, as widespread activity is currently being reported in almost every state, and it appears that the Influenza A strain is just starting to pick up.
Influenza B has been the feel-bad story of the 2019-2020 flu season, as the strain, which typically peaks in February or March, has gotten off to a fast start.
However, that strain is expected to reach a peak soon, then start declining.
Unfortunately, the fall of Influenza B might be immediately followed by its nasty kin: Influenza A.
Regardless of how Influenza A comes on, it's safe to say that the 2019-2020 flu season will be the third straight to display negative features.
The 2017-2018 flu season featured recording-breaking hospitalizations and the 2018-2019 flu season was longer than average.
Worst in a Decade
As of the time of this publication, the 2019-2020 influenza season had already outpaced the activity for the 2014-15 season.
Significant spikes in both activity and Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) have been reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By the end of 2019, all but five states were reporting moderate to high levels of ILI activity, and every state and territory, with the exception of Hawaii and the District of Columbia, reported regional to wide-spread flu activity.
As of January 2nd, 2020, an estimated 5.5% of deaths in the United States were due to Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I), falling just below the epidemic threshold of 6.8%--totaling approximately 2900 deaths so far this season, 27 of which were children.
The Cleanliness Conundrum
Personal and environmental cleanliness and hygiene are critical components to a healthy workplace, classroom, body, and community, especially during cold and flu season.
This is not common knowledge.
According to a Royal Society for Public Health survey:
[...] a worrying one in four (23%) believed hygiene in the home was not important in the belief that children need to be exposed to harmful germs to build their immune system.
Another survey conducted by Vital Vio reported that;
Gaps in American cleaning habits aren’t just creating dirtier spaces, they are putting our families and communities at greater risk of getting sick.
The survey found that:
- Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed use their phone while going to the bathroom.
- Almost half of those in the U.S. (46 percent) will also bring their phones into a public restroom every time they go.
- One in four people (23 percent) has never even cleaned or wiped down their phone.
- Two in five people (41 percent) won’t hesitate to put their phones in their mouths, ingesting the harmful bacteria living on their devices.
- Half of Americans (48 percent) eat regularly at their desks, but only one in three (33 percent) clean that same space just once a week.
- One in four Americans (23 percent) choose not to wash their hands after traveling on a bus, subway, or airplane.
- Two in five (39 percent) choose to still travel on public transportation when they are sick.
- Three in five (60 percent) will not wipe down areas they’ve touched when traveling while sick.
- Report from Vital Vio Reveals the Dirty Truth Behind Americans’ Poor Hygiene and Risky Cleaning Practices
References & Resources
- CDC: Flu Continues To Spread Across Country
- Widespread Flu Activity Found In Most States
- Flu Season On Pace To Be One Of The Worst
- Some People Think It's Bad To Be Too Clean
Influenza seasons and outbreaks are demonstrably becoming more problematic with each passing year.
The absence of environmental and personal cleanliness and hygiene are critical factors affecting the spread of germs and infectious disease and evidence suggests that we have significant room to grow and improve in multiple areas.
The most effective solutions incorporate recurring occupant education regarding the importance of personal hygiene and hand awareness combined with environmental cleaning policies that focus on occupant health over facility appearance.
A cost-effective method for achieving these goals is to outsource your facilities regular cleaning and infection prevention and control services to an experienced and dedicated service provider.
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