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Sunday, February 23, 2014

INFLUENZA ACTIVITY AND VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS

FROM:  CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION 
1. Interim Estimates of 2013–14 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, February 2014

This season’s influenza vaccine reduced the risk for influenza-associated medical visits by approximately 60 percent across all age groups. Children at least 6 months old and older who have not yet received the 2013–14 influenza vaccine should be vaccinated. CDC recommends yearly flu vaccination for children 6 months old or older and adults. Because flu viruses change from season to season, CDC conducts studies each year to determine how well the flu vaccine works against the specific flu viruses that are circulating. This mid-season report presents data on 2,319 children and adults enrolled in the U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network from December 2, 2013 to January 23, 2014. The study found that getting flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of flu-related doctor’s visits by 61 percent for all age groups. Influenza vaccination offered substantial protection against the flu virus circulating this season, pH1N1, and the same virus that emerged in 2009 and spread in a worldwide pandemic.

2. Update: Influenza Activity — United States, September 29, 2013–February 8, 2014

This influenza season, characterized as a pH1N1 season, has been more severe for young and middle-aged adults than in the most recent seasons. This is a reminder that influenza can cause severe illness in people of any age and that everyone aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated. When people do get the flu, antiviral treatment can reduce severe outcomes, especially when administered early. Influenza activity in the United States began increasing in mid-November and remained elevated as of February 8; elevated activity will likely continue for several more weeks. Surveillance data provide a reminder that while some age groups are at increased risk of influenza complications every year, influenza can cause severe illness in persons of any age, even in adults 18–64 years.CDC recommends that health-care providers continue to offer vaccine to all unvaccinated persons ≥6 months now and throughout the season.