November 16, 2017

Carolyn Bridges served as the moderator for today’s call.


Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)

Alicia provided highlights of the influenza surveillance report from week 44, ending on November 4, 2017. Overall, we continue to see low levels of influenza throughout the country, but activity is beginning to creep upward throughout the country.

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories was 3.4%, an increase from the 2.9% reported during the previous week. The majority of specimens (88%) tested at public health laboratories were influenza A, and 12% were influenza B. Influenza A H3 continues to be the dominant strain reported, though smaller numbers of influenza A (H1) and influenza B also have been reported. For the 2017–2018 season as a whole, 90% of influenza A specimens were H3. For the B viruses for which lineage information was available, 98% were B Yamagata. Specimens characterized since May have been antigenically and genetically similar to the reference virus for this season’s vaccine. There has been no antiviral resistance detected to date.

Nationwide, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity was at 1.8%, up from 1.5% reported during the previous week. However, this remains below the national baseline of 2.2%. All 10 of the HHS regions are below their region-specific baselines. ILI information also is available on a state level, with activity summarized as high, moderate, low, or minimal. Last week, two states (Louisiana and South Carolina) reported moderate ILI activity, 6 states reported low ILI activity, and 42 states reported minimal ILI activity.

Based on reports from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) surveillance system available for the week ending October 21, 5.8% of deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This percentage is below the epidemic threshold of 6.3% for the week.

No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported during week 44. For the 2017–2018 season, the total number of reported pediatric deaths remains at one.

In terms of geographic spread of influenza within a state (characterized as regional, local, sporadic, or no activity) as reported by state and territorial epidemiologists, 6 states reported regional activity, 13 states reported local activity, and 31 states reported sporadic activity. The majority of states reporting local or regional activity were concentrated in the southern part of the country, with a few other states on the west coast.

National Influenza Vaccination Week – Kathleen LaPorte (CDC)

Kathleen reminded callers that this year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) will take place on December 3–9. NIVW serves as a time to remind people that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. This is especially important for people who are at high risk of influenza complications. The NIVW webpage includes communication resources, print materials, web badges, and social media messages and graphics. This year CDC will be focusing on their new “Flu Fighter” series, which highlights the work of CDC and their partners in their efforts at flu prevention. CDC will emphasize the work of individuals working in areas such as surveillance the laboratories by providing personal stories. Partners are asked to share their own Flu Fighter stories by highlighting hardworking local personnel with an image and a few sentences on social media. Watch the NIVW webpage for more information. Persons with questions can email Kathleen LaPorte or CDC’s FluInbox.

NAIIS Vaccination Clinic Checklist – Amy Parker Fiebelkorn (CDC)

Amy reminded partners about the Checklist of Best Practices for Vaccination Clinics Held at Satellite, Temporary, or Off-Site Locations. The checklist was developed by the Summit’s Influenza Workgroup. Amy encouraged Summit members to promote the Checklist and other complementary resources created by the workgroup, including a pledge for organizations agreeing to use the checklist, a summary of 10 principles for holding safe vaccination clinics that can be shared with staff, and FAQs about using the checklist. Amy encouraged partners to be familiar with and help spread the word about these helpful resources that can help standardize activities in a variety of settings. Carolyn Bridges congratulated the Influenza Workgroup on the development of this great process.

Announcements – Carolyn Bridges
    • Upcoming Summit Calls – The Summit call scheduled for November 23 is cancelled due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The next call is planned for November 30.


    • 2018 Summit In-Person Meeting

    Carolyn reminded callers that the 2018 Summit in-person meeting will be held in conjunction with the National Immunization Conference (NIC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The NIC will be May 15–17, and the Summit will be May 17–18. Attendees are encouraged to participate in both events.

    Information on registration and submission of poster abstracts for NIC is now available online. A separate abstract submission process will be available son for the NAIIS meeting. The poster/networking session will be held on Thursday evening, May 17.

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