Physician Practice

Get ready for the next flu season

Medical Environment Update, August 1, 2019

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Infection control experts warn that it’s only a matter of time before another pandemic like swine flu hits the U.S.

By John Palmer

It’s the middle of August, and chances are the flu isn’t high on your list of things to think about. But the CDC and other healthcare agencies are monitoring the bug with an eye on the next season—and so should you if you want to get a handle on the potential threats.

According to the CDC, flu season in the U.S. runs from October 1 until around April 30. In the 2018–2019 season there were up to 43 million cases of the flu, resulting in about 20 million medical clinic visits, 647,000 hospitalizations, and 61,200 deaths. The CDC admits these numbers are estimates, as it’s impossible to know exactly how many people caught the flu. In many parts of the country the flu isn’t a reportable disease, and there are flu victims who stayed home and didn’t make it into the official count.

The good news is that the numbers are down from the 2017–2018 season, when the U.S. saw some of the highest numbers since 2010 (the first year the CDC started keeping annual records of the disease). In the 2017–2018 season, some 49 million cases of the flu were recorded in U.S. hospitals, resulting in 23 million clinic visits, 960,000 hospitalizations, and 79,000 deaths.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.

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