Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughs and sneezes. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people — such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions — are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Seasonal Influenza Activity in Alaska
Click figure to enlarge Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Alaska typically has sporadic flu activity year round with peak activity occurring as early as January or as late as March. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. For more information on 2014-2015 influenza vaccination click here: www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine.
To view the FLU SNAPSHOT of the 2014-2015 season click here.
To view detailed Alaska influenza surveillance data click here.
Spotlight on Influenza
This season, influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been reported most frequently and have been detected in almost all states, including Alaska. Influenza viral characterization data indicates that 48% of the influenza A (H3N2) viruses collected and analyzed in the United States from October 1 through November 22, 2014 were antigenically "like" the 2014-2015 influenza A (H3N2) vaccine component, but that 52% were antigenically different (drifted) from the H3N2 vaccine virus. In past seasons during which predominant circulating influenza viruses have been antigenically drifted, decreased vaccine effectiveness has been observed. However, vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses. Click here to read the complete CDC Health Advisory.
Resources for the General Public
Resources for Health Care Professionals
Clinical Information Transmission, clinical signs and symptoms of illness, and complications of influenza.
Lab Diagnosis of Influenza Information on lab diagnostic testing.
Treatment Guidance on the use of antiviral agents for treatment and chemoprophylaxis.
Alaska State Virology Laboratory (ASVL) Weekly Report The ASVL Weekly report summarizes all specimens evaluated by the Lab in the previous week. Influenza data include results from viral culture/PCR testing by region and by rapid test results. Data are displayed by date of report (not dates of collection or onset).
Infection Control Guidelines for various settings, respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette.
Alaska State Public Health Laboratory (ASPHL) Services Manual This link details the laboratory services, turnaround times and contact information for the state labs in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
It Moose Be Flu Season coloring page