November 1, 2018

November 1, 2018

Note: Due to a technical difficulty, we were unable to access the recording of today’s call. The following provides a brief summary of the information discussed during the call, including links to the slides which were presented. If you have specific questions about any information from the call, please contact L.J Tan.

Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)

Alicia provided the influenza surveillance update for Week 43, ending October 27, 2018. Influenza activity in the United States remains low, although small increases in activity were reported. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses reported most commonly by public health laboratories during the most recent three weeks. Below is a summary of the key influenza indicators for the week ending October 27, 2018:

  • Viral Surveillance: Influenza A viruses have predominated in the United States since the beginning of July. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories was low.
    • Virus Characterization: The majority of influenza viruses characterized antigenically and genetically are similar to the cell-grown reference viruses representing the 2018-2019 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine viruses.
    • Antiviral Resistance: All viruses tested since late May show susceptibility to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir.
  • Influenza-like Illness Surveillance: The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased slightly to 1.7%, which is below the national baseline of 2.2%. All regions reported ILI below their region-specific baseline level.
    • ILI State Activity Indictor Map: New York City and two states experienced low ILI activity; the District of Columbia and 48 states experienced minimal ILI activity; and Puerto Rico had insufficient data.
  • Geographic Spread of Influenza: The geographic spread of influenza in five states was reported as local; the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 43 states reported sporadic activity; two states reported no activity; and Guam did not report.
  • Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was below the system-specific epidemic threshold in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance System.

Estimated Burden of Influenza in the U.S., 2017–2018 Flu Season – Melissa Rolfes (CDC)

Each year CDC estimates the burden of influenza in the U.S. by using modeling to estimate the number of influenza illnesses, medical visits, flu-associated hospitalizations, and flu-associated deaths that occur in the U.S. in a given season. CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2017–2018 season was high, with an estimated 48.8 million people getting sick with influenza, 22.7 million people going to a health care provider, 959,000 hospitalizations, and 79,400 deaths from influenza. The number of cases of influenza-associated illness that occurred last season was the highest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, when an estimated 60 million people were sick with influenza. In her presentation, CDC epidemiologist Dr. Melissa Rolfes discussed these burden estimates and provided some context as to how the burden of flu last season compared to previous seasons in the U.S.

Summit members with questions on this presentation may contact Dr. Melissa Rolfes via email. Additional information on the estimated burden and how it was developed may be found on CDC’s Disease Burden of Influenza webpage.

Fluency Campaign – Monica Mercer (Sanofi)

Ms. Mercer provide a presentation on Sanofi’s Fluency campaign. Multiple studies have shown that immunization is driven by a healthcare provider’s recommendation, and the campaign was developed to empower physicians to become champions for influenza vaccination. Her presentation described some of the root causes of vaccine hesitancy and effective areas of focus during communications with patients.

A wide variety of free patient education materials are available to Summit members through the Fluency campaign. These include email templates, office support tools such posters and telephone scripts, Facebook and Twitter social media posts, and materials in Spanish.

MyShot Campaign – Erin Meyer and Michelle Caul (ALA)

Erin and Michelle provided a brief overview of the American Lung Association’s MyShot program. The goal of MyShot is to educate adults >50 years of age about the potential dangers of influenza infection and the importance of receiving an annual flu shot.

Resources available on the campaign site include:

  • Flu statistics and information about persons at increased risk
  • Patient stories
  • Tips for patients on how to talk to a doctor about the flu shot option that is right for them.

Summit members are asked to share information about the availability of this helpful site.

Announcements – L.J Tan (IAC)
    • Seasonal Influenza Campaign Lead – CDC’s Dr. Ram Koppaka announced that the Seasonal Influenza Campaign Lead for the upcoming season will be John Donovan. Mr. Donovan has served as a Health Communication Specialist with CDC since 2012. For the last two years, he has been a Senior Health Communication Specialist with CDC’s Public-Private Partnerships program.
    • New 65+ Flu Defense website – L.J reported that IAC, in collaboration with Seqirus, has launched a new 65+ Flu Defense website. The site is targeted to healthcare providers to help them give a strong, confident recommendation for flu vaccination for those over 65. This recognizes that a provider’s recommendation is extremely important while also acknowledging challenges that providers are facing due to inconsistent information about vaccine effectiveness (VE). IAC created this website to talk about the other important things that influence a vaccination decision besides simply prevention of disease. disease. The website includes talking points on subjects such as inflamm-aging that is exacerbated by influenza infection, and the impact of vaccination on reducing this negative effect. The talking points also discuss vaccination impact on reducing hospitalization rates. Other tools included on the site help providers shift the conversation to give a more confident recommendation.
    • Summit Call Schedule – The Summit calls have resumed a weekly schedule. All calls take place on Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET. The next Summit call is scheduled for November 8.
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