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CDC: Alaska experiencing minimal flu-like activity

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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 11:16 pm

FAIRBANKS — It’s officially flu season. We know it because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun issuing its weekly influenza updates.

The first CDC update of the 2012-13 flu season covers the period Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 and showed a low level of flu activity across the country.

• Forty-seven states — including Alaska — and New York City experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity, according to the CDC. The District of Columbia and three states did not report.

• One state (Wyoming) reported local influenza activity. The District of Columbia and 29 states, including Alaska, reported sporadic influenza activity, according to the CDC. Guam and 18 states reported no influenza activity. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two states did not report.

Alaska has seen an uptick in flu cases since mid-September, according to data from the state Section of Epidemiology. The Alaska State Virology Lab confirmed about a dozen positive specimens for the testing week that ended Oct. 5, up from less than 10 cases in the preceding week and two in the week that ended Sept. 21.

The number of flu cases in Alaska increased earlier than usual last year, though the season as a whole was not as severe as the 2010-11 season, which peaked at nearly 900 state-confirmed cases in February 2011.

•••

A children’s immunization clinic for influenza and other vaccinations will be held 3-6 p.m. Wednesday at the North Pole Fire Department.

All childhood immunizations will be available, including varicella and seasonal flu vaccines for those children who are eligible.

Parents or guardians are asked to bring their child’s vaccination records. There is a fee, but no one will be refused service because of inability to pay.

More information is available from the Fairbanks Public Health Center at 452-1776.

•••

On the web:

Information about flu season in Alaska is available online at the state Section of Epidemiology website: www.epi.hss.state.ak.us

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an online flu information center: www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.

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