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Weekly Report: Download Weekly Report 11_25_09 (Download PDF Weekly Report 11_25_09)

We have received some questions about "Table 3: Confirmed influenza cases in Massachusetts" in the Weekly Report. This table can be somewhat confusing because seasonal and untyped influenza cases are grouped together in the final column making it seem that seasonal flu is already heavily present in Massachusetts, or that there is a lot more "other" flu than H1N1. This number can be misleading because at this point, almost all untyped flu is H1N1 influenza. However, this will start to change next month when seasonal flu traditionally arrives in MA. In addition, the cases reported, whether H1N1 or untyped/seasonal, are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of total number of cases. We subtype a small amount of cases only to get a sense of trends in illness. To get a better sense of the actual presence of flu in your community you should look at Figure 1 which represents percentages of influenza-like visits reported by sentinel provider sites in the state. As you can see, at this point, the amount of flu activity in the state is much higher than in a normal year.

In terms of vaccine supply, Massachusetts has now received more than 1.2 million H1N1 doses. As we move into December, we expect that there will continue to be regular shipments with significant amounts of vaccine. Therefore, every week more and more public clinics should be added to flu.masspro.org. If you don't see a flu clinic listed in your area, we encourage you to check the site regularly for updates. We know that the delays have been extremely frustrating and we appreciate your patience as we all await more vaccine from the Federal government.

We encourage all residents to utilize the comments section on this blog to engage with us and each other. While we cannot respond to every comment or question directly, we find them very helpful to understand your questions and concerns and plan for future posts.

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Communications Office

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