The Division also recently put out an advisory regarding severe respiratory illnesses reported to CDC among young to middle-aged adults with influenza A/H1N1 infections. The advisory reminds clinicians to treat suspected influenza in high-risk outpatients, those with progressive disease, and all hospitalized patients with antiviral medications as soon as possible, regardless of negative rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT) results and without waiting for RT-PCR testing results. Early antiviral treatment works best, but treatment may offer benefit even when started more than 48 hours after symptom onset in hospitalized patients. Read the advisory.
No increase in severe influenza infections has been noted so far in North Carolina; influenza activity in the state remains low overall. Influenza surveillance data for North Carolina are updated weekly at flu.nc.gov.
As a reminder, physicians in North Carolina are required to report all influenza-associated deaths (adult and pediatric) to their Local Health Department. An influenza-associated death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza (any strain) by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test.