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February 2020

Feb 2020

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Health Advisory: Influenza Activity Increasing Locally

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Published on January 12, 2017. Last modified on February 02, 2020

Current Situation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports widespread influenza in California.  The Monterey County Health Department received an increased number of influenza positive laboratory reports during the last week.  Additionally, reports of increased influenza activity in congregate living facilities have been received.  Influenza A (H3) is the predominant circulating subtype currently; this may change as the influenza season progresses. 

Recommendations for Healthcare Providers

  • Continue to encourage vaccination against influenza. Vaccination still provides the best protection against influenza and is very effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Consider the early use of antiviral medications. For high-risk individuals presenting with clinically compatible illness, do not delay the use of antiviral medications while influenza tests are pending.
  • Laboratories should submit the following specimens to the Monterey County Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory for additional testing (no charge to the submitting facility):
    • All specimens (positive or negative) from individuals less than 65 years of age with suspected severe influenza (fatal and/or admitted to the ICU).
    • All specimens (positive or negative) from individuals who report contact with swine (inpatient or outpatient) or recent international travel.
  • Promptly report to the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Unit (phone: 831-755-4521; fax: 831‑754-6682) cases of:
  1. severe influenza (fatal and/or admitted to the ICU) among individuals less than 65 years,
  2. severe otherwise unexplained respiratory illness among individuals with recent international travel and/or contact with swine,
  3. suspected novel strains of influenza (inpatient or outpatient), and
  4. suspected outbreaks of influenza in congregate living facilities or schools.
  • Educate your patients about everyday preventative actions such as avoiding contact with sick people, washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill.

For additional information about influenza, please contact the Communicable Disease Unit at 831‑755‑4521 or visit the CDC’s provider website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/.  For information about influenza testing at the Monterey County Public Health Lab, call 831‑755‑4516.

Health Alert:  Warrants immediate action or attention.   Health Advisory:  Provides information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action. Health Update:  Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlike