Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kids in School, Spreading Flu

I never intended for this to become an influenza blog, yet it does seem to be trending in that direction, doesn't it? I suspected flu levels would increase when school started back up, but Boy Howdy. I wasn't quite prepared for the onslaught.

The question should not be who has flu, but rather who doesn't have it. A school in my city almost closed because so many kids were out sick yesterday. This wasn't a disease control issue, but rather a financial one -- 26% of the kids were absent.

I have a pretty intensive surveillance system for influenza-like illness in the schools. Levels right now mimic those that I typically see at the beginning of seasonal epidemics.

The hopeful news is that this may burn through the population, peak, and level out to usual flu activity. My prediction is that we see an early peak in the next month or two, followed by a peak in seasonal flu in February, and then in subsequent years H1N1 just becomes another strain in the usual circulation, we call swine the new seasonal and we are done with it. I hope I'm right on that one. I feel like H1N1 has taken over my life. It's all I do at work anymore. And I think my spouse may have it.

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