FluView Weekly gives a weekly synopsis of influenza activity in the US. WHO and NREVSS collaborating laboratories located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia report to CDC the number of respiratory specimens tested for influenza and the number of positive by influenza virus type and influenza A virus subtype. (3)
–> Viral Surveillance: The specimens that are tested and reported through the US World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories.
–> Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: Reports on the deaths that are attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) and if the level is below or above the epidemic threshold.
–> Influenza-associated Pediatric Deaths: Deaths in pediatric patients associated with influenza.
–> Outpatient Illness Surveillance: There are 10 regions that report the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) and if it’s below the national baseline of 2.0%.
–> Geographic Spread of Influenza: Reported cases of flu are indicated by region and indicate geographic spreading of influenza.
The report then breaks down various surveillance components such as regions and comparative national averages. (2)
The CDC states, “These applications were developed to enhance the weekly FluView report by better facilitating communication about influenza with the public health community, clinicians, scientists, and the general public.”
The FluView Interactive website contains data collected since 1997-1998 flu season to present. The CDC disclaimer states:
The finalized data for previous seasons presented in FluView Interactive may differ from the preliminary data published in the weekly reports due to the receipt of additional data after publication.” (4)
The results of Google’s program called Google Flu Trends in US have been published in the journal Nature. Google states, “We’ve found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity.”
Google finds that flu-related searches have a “close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms”. Google explains that when all of the flu-related search queries are combined, they discovered a pattern.
“By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in different countries and regions around the world.
The weather channel website offers a wide selection of articles on flu remedies, immunity boosters and other related information. (5) There is also an interactive national map that gives the previous week’s tracking of flu cases. You can click on any state for the weekly levels for the current and last flu seasons. (6)
Outbreaks Global Incident Map
Displays outbreaks, cases and deaths from viral and bacterial diseases with potential to indicate biological terrorism. Updates every 5 minutes. Mouse rollover generates a pop-up info bubble for quick reference. You can click on any incident reported to pull up a screen that gives you a brief description of the incident and the URL for a related article. (7)
Easy Flu Surveillance
With the aid of these multiple resources, you can keep one step ahead of any potential flu pandemic. While having an advanced warning isn’t necessarily a guarantee against contracting the flu, it certainly can alert you to any outbreaks in your region.
References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: Could H7N9 Avian Influenza Become the Final Pandemic?
(3) CDC: Flu Weekly
(4) CDC: Weekly Interactive Flu Map
(6) Weather.com: North Carolina
(7) Global Incident Map