2004 - 2005 Texas Influenza Surveillance Information
The weekly flu activity level for CDC week 8 ending 2/26/05 remains Widespread.
Reports were received for all eleven regions.
However, flu activity appears to have peaked last week.
Five of the eleven regions report increased flu activity this week, namely the panhandle (HSR 1) and border regions (HSRs 8, 9, 10, 11).
Five of the eleven regions report about the same (high) level of flu activity as last week, representing North Texas (HSR 2/3), East Texas (HSRs 4/5), and the Houston/Galveston coastal area (HSR 6).
The region representing Central Texas reports decreasing flu activity (HSR 7)
(A map of Health Service Regions)
Data from the Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network (SPSN) indicates a lower level of ILI activity than last week, although levels are still relatively high at nearly four and a half times the baseline level. This ends a five week trend of increases.
School absentee levels due to ILI are likewise decreasing, with no reports of school closures.
A few institutional/hospital outbreaks were reported, most in the areas reporting increased flu activity.
Culture confirmed flu has been identified in all regions of the state, with relatively high specimen levels at the DSHS lab again this week. Counties with culture confirmed flu include Dallas, Tarrant, Harris, Bexar, Wichita, Bell, Travis, Taylor, Smith, Potter, Wichita, and Lubbock.
The majority of culture confirmed flu remains A.
We have received confirmation from CDC that the new A/California strain has been identified in Texas.
The case that tested positive had not been vaccinated, so it is unclear whether receiving the vaccine would have prevented or mitigated the infection.
This strain, while still H3N2, is different enough that the vaccine may not provide protection against it.
CDC reports that 45% of influenza A (H3N2) isolates received nationally in Atlanta are most closely related to A/California (H3N2).
The identified case is from North Texas, although it is likely that a similar percentage of flu A in Texas may be this other strain.