Denton County Influenza Surveillance

DCPH Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report for Week 44 (10/27/19 – 11/2/19). 

Low influenza activity was reported in Denton County for week 44. Denton County sentinel providers reported that there were 331 influenza tests performed during week 44, resulting in 15 positive influenza tests (1 Flu A and 14 Flu B) and 0 hospitalizations. Syndromic surveillance for influenza-like illness (ILI) in Denton County increased during week 44 when compared to the previous week. 0.5% of the total reported school population was absent due to ILI in week 44.

During week 44, influenza activity remained low in both Texas and the United States. The percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza in Texas was 4.49% for week 44. The percentage of visits for ILI in Texas as reported by ILINet providers increased to 3.78% in week 44 compared to the previous week. The percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza in the US was 3.2% for week 44. The proportion of outpatient visits for ILI in the US in week 44 was 2.1%, which is below the national baseline of 2.4%. Due to technical issues, the National Center for Health Statistics mortality surveillance data for the week ending October 26, 2019 (Week 43) was not published this week.

Healthcare providers should be aware of the following recommendations:

  • Clinicians should encourage all patients 6 months of age and older who have not yet received an influenza vaccine this season to be vaccinated against influenza.
  • Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) have limited sensitivities and predictive values; negative results of RIDTs do not exclude influenza virus infection in patients with signs and symptoms suggestive of influenza. Therefore, antiviral treatment should not be withheld from patients with suspected influenza, even if they test negative.
  • Clinicians should encourage all persons with influenza-like illness who are at high risk for influenza complications to seek care promptly to determine if treatment with influenza antiviral medications is warranted.
  • All Hospitalized, Severely Ill, and High Risk Patients with suspected influenza should be treated with antivirals. Prompt treatment with influenza antiviral drugs can reduce serious illness and death. These drugs work best when started soon after influenza symptoms begin (within 2 days), but persons with high-risk conditions can benefit even when antiviral treatment is started after the first two days of illness.