State Changing the Way It Reports Flu Hospitalizations and Deaths; CDC Issues Updated Guidance on H1N1

North Carolina is changing the way it reports flu deaths and hospitalizations, in response to a new nationwide directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Starting this week, the state is reporting hospitalizations and deaths from all influenza-like illnesses, including both H1N1 and seasonal influenza. The state will no longer be reporting separately the number of hospitalizations and deaths among patients with lab-confirmed pandemic H1N1.  Read the complete news release from NC DHHS at www.ncmedsoc.org.

The CDC this week issued an updated Q&A on the H1N1 virus for clinicians, including more details about the supply and distribution of H1N1 vaccine.  The guidance is found at:
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/clinicians_qa.htm.

The 2008-2009 flu season officially ended on Saturday, October 3, 2009. State Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Torrey McLean said, “This was by far the most unusual of the eight seasons of influenza surveillance that I personally have worked with, due to the national pandemic of A (H1N1) influenza during the last five months.  The fact that the season ended with a high level of influenza activity reported throughout the state makes effective surveillance during this new 2009-2010 season, which began on October 4th, extremely important.”  North Carolina has 96 sentinels in 55 counties and a large number of participating hospital emergency departments.

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