As of today, a total of five people have been infected, one of whom was a child just a few days old. But, it’s the lack of information that has concerned scientists. “We know now that this virus hasn’t been found on all the major U.S. airports and we don’t yet know what the new strain might look like. It’s the same old story,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said today on NBC’s Today. “At the same time, we don’t know what the risk is, and it could be an entire family member or not. The possibility of disease across the country, it really is out of the question.”
While doctors warn about the possibility of new cases in this month’s flu season, there’s still concern over a number of other more prevalent illnesses. Health officials from nine states are being asked to provide information about the availability of flu shots over the next three weeks. That’s part of the “National Flu Season” a week-long program known as the National Flu Hotline from 1-800-321-INFO. There is an ongoing shortage of flu medications for people, as well as people with infectious diseases not yet officially identified. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also taking steps towards re-evaluating what it means to be “at risk” of one of these illnesses and is looking to make recommendations for treatment.
“In addition to focusing on ensuring people who are most infectious and most at risk have access to the vaccine, we are also working towards establishing a nationwide surveillance model to understand and report the spread, incidence and timing of these illnesses across the country,” said CDC assistant director Christopher Chapman. “The CDC was very fortunate that there were no flu deaths in any of the people we’ve identified as having a high risk for influenza. Our flu season in 2012 may be considered our most successful ever, but we have to be prepared for the unexpected.” The CDC is conducting a health emergency planning session in an effort to understand the flu infection season and to establish resources in the event of a large-scale outbreak. “The flu outbreak is still a small outbreak so we aren’t making any decisions based on that,” Chapman added. The CDC’s latest influenza outbreak statistics are available at this page and are broken down to specific states. When news about a “major U.S. outbreak” comes along, the CDC issues an alert. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), one of the agencies responsible for making recommendations related to the overall health and safety of the American people. The department provides scientific and technical assistance in the areas of public health; and prevention, health promotion, and research into the prevention of diseases against which the United States is responsible for. The Infectious Disease Surveillance Section of the CDC has responsibility for the collection and analysis of national health information systems as well as for other major aspects of the nation’s response to infectious disease. In an effort to keep America informed, all people should call their local CDC office and ask to see an appointment book, if possible. The influenza virus has been linked to severe winter weather patterns , which the Washington Times points out is a pretty good time to get a flu shot. The CDC has been tracking the virus spread across the U.S. and is encouraging people to get vaccinated on time and at the recommended amounts. The CDC also has some of its offices running the annual flu flu vaccination campaign. The CDC is an international medical research agency set to receive a $2.9 billion budget to be spent on promoting and researching the prevention and treatment of illnesses. The agency has been working hard on getting a flu vaccine to all Americans, and a number of countries around the world are making important new efforts in the treatment of the epidemic. In another big news, the CDC is setting up an office in New York to track and analyze seasonal flu activity, according to The Hill ,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will establish a special disease center in New York City that will focus on influenza research, surveillance, and epidemiology, two years after President Obama signed a bill to establish the center. The office will have roughly 100 employees to collect, analyze and provide information on influenza to help address both the flu problem and its impact on the nation. New York City is in the south of the country and the city will be situated right in the way of West Coast winter seasons that are dominated by the flu. It’s the first large city to launch the center, but according to one CDC official, it’s not the first time a large city has looked into creating a regional hub to monitor trends in influenza. While The Hill writes that this won’t be an international office, the CDC says it plans to share data and expertise with the new center. The CDC was founded by Henry Rollins to help people combat the diseases spread by pharmaceutical companies in this case, the tobacco industry. Rollins would likely be amused by a call to see if the CDC