The U.S. is continuing to see increasing levels of flu cases and hospitalizations. In fact, according to CDC, the hospitalizations are the highest they have been at this time of year since 2010. If we correlate this to CDC community levels that had been assigned to COVID, the U.S. would be on a trajectory to be in the red “high” level of hospitalization. Relating those CDC recommendations to flu, those in areas of high flu activity should be up-to-date on vaccinations, avoid contact with people who have the flu, stay home if sick, and consider wearing a mask.
With flu at these levels, businesses also need to be thinking about absenteeism. As noted during COVID, absenteeism is likely to be high from flu infection, as well as COVID and RSV, and some parents again needing to be home with ill children. So, ensuring that your critical and core functions are staffed will remain key to weathering the next months.
Following are further insights from TAG’s infectious disease matrices.
COVID Risk Matrix:
Infectious Disease News
- Flu. In Kentucky, doctors are reporting that fewer people are getting flu shots. But overall, the CDC reports vaccination rates equivalent to 2021. Pediatric influenza cases are overwhelming the hospitals in Canada so much that services provided have been scaled back- an example: Newfoundland and Labrador’s children’s hospital cancelled some scheduled surgeries and appointments. For the week ending Nov. 26, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s FluWatch reported 223 influenza-associated hospitalizations among children 16 and under. That’s up from an average of 11, with a maximum of 35, at pediatric hospitals from 2014-15 to 2019-20.
- Measles. The US CDC has issued a travel notice for 17 countries in Africa where the number of measles cases is higher than normal: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Togo. Columbus, OH health officials held a press briefing last Wednesday as measles cases among children rise to 46. Columbus Public Health said 18 daycares and schools have had cases. All the cases involved children who are unvaccinated. Nineteen of the cases were hospitalized. The Indian Academy of Pediatricians stepped in and appealed for vaccination amidst the reportedly alarming hike in the cases. The number of measles cases continue to rise in Maharashtra since the start of the year. The total number of cases has reached 717, the state health department said. Out of this, 303 cases have been reported in Mumbai only, making it the worst affected city. The viral infection, which mostly affects children, has claimed 14 lives so far.
- Miscellaneous. A total of 300 people, mostly children, have been affected by pertussis, or whooping cough, in Afghanistan’s southern Zabul province, and two children have died of the disease. Beginning on November 25, 2022, the Government of Brazil is requiring that all air travelers wear approved masks or face coverings. The guidance applies to all customers 3 years of age and older, unless granted a medical exemption by the Government of Brazil. There is currently a growing number of cases of diphtheria in Britain. Dozens of cases have been identified among asylum seekers arriving into the country. At this time the risk of infection to the wider public is low. Data from UKHSA said there have been around 50 cases among asylum seekers who arrived in England between January 1 and November 25.