|Bureau of Epidemiology|
|Bureau of Epidemiology||September 2001||Utah Department of Health|
Strategies for Utahs 2001/2002 Flu SeasonEpidemics of
influenza generally occur during the winter months on an annual or near annual basis and
are responsible for approximately 20,000 deaths in the United States each year. Influenza
virus infections cause disease in all age groups. Rates of infection are highest among
infants, children, and adolescents, but rates of serious morbidity and mortality are
highest among people 50 years of age or older and people of any age who have medical
conditions that place them at high risk for complications from influenza.
Annual vaccination of people at high risk for complications before the influenza season is the most effective measure for reducing the impact of influenza. In Utah, due to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games coinciding with the influenza season, vaccination for influenza is particularly important. Persons at greatest risk from influenza include those 65 years of age, those in institutionalized care, children and adults with certain chronic diseases, particularly of the lungs and heart, health care workers, close contacts of high-risk individuals, women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, and all travelers. Individuals between 50 and 65 are also at increased risk and are recommended to receive an annual influenza vaccination. A comprehensive list of recommendations for the 2001/2002 flu season may be found on the web at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5027a3.htm
Pneumococcal vaccination is another first-line defense against serious complications from the flu. Target groups for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination overlap considerably. Both vaccines can be administered at the same time at different sites without increasing side effects. However, influenza vaccine is administered each year, while pneumococcal vaccine is not. Infants and children at high risk for influenza-related complications can receive influenza vaccine at the same time they receive other routine vaccinations.
High-risk children comprise an often overlooked group that should receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations. The vaccination rate among high-risk children recommended for annual influenza vaccination is very low. High-risk children who are eligible for vaccines under the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program can receive the vaccine at no cost and providers may bill Medicaid for administration fees or charge these fees to the parents of VFC-eligible children not enrolled in Medicaid. Providers interested in enrolling in the VFC Program should contact the Utah Department of Health/ Immunization Program at (801) 538-9450.
Manufacturers have reported that even though current projections of the total vaccine supply expected for this year exceed that of prior years, there will be delays in the delivery and the completion of delivery could be as late as December. Approximately 25% or less of the total vaccine supply will be available in October and should be used to vaccinate only high-risk individuals. The Utah Department of Health/ Immunization Program therefore encourages all providers to use the following CDC general guidelines for the 2001/2002 influenza season:
If you have questions about this years influenza season, or would like information about influenza clinic sites and schedules, call the Immunization Hotline at 1-800-275-0659.
Utah typically has more than 220 confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis reported each year (see Figure 1). To date, more than 189 confirmed cases have been reported in 2001.
People can become infected with Campylobacter by handling raw chicken, eating undercooked poultry or drinking unpasteurized milk and inadvertently ingesting animal feces after handling infected animals, such as puppies, kittens, and other pets. Mountain streams and wells contaminated with animal feces may also pose a hazard. This type of exposure is what caused an outbreak in 2000 and accounts for the elevated number of cases in August and September of that year.
When handling animals, people need to avoid hand-to-mouth activities (i.e. eating, smoking, or merely touching the mouth) until they wash their hands. Persons with diarrhea should wash their hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds, to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.
All persons who become ill with a diarrheal illness should see their health care provider to have a stool sample tested. Individuals who have experienced an illness following exposure to animals are encouraged to report it to the Utah Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology at (801) 538-6191 or to their respective local health department. For more information on campylobacteriosis, visit UDOHs webpage at http://www.health.state.ut.us/els/epidemiology/epifacts/campy.html.
Quarterly Report of Diseases of Low Frequency Year to Date, JanuarySeptember 2001 (including a comparison for same time period 1997-2000)
Exceptional Effort in Public Health The Utah Health Alert Network (HAN) was developed to provide local health departments with information, technology, and ongoing training needed to address the health threats within the communities they serve. Some of the components of the HAN are:
In an effort to provide these services to all the local health departments throughout Utah, the HAN organized a statewide Seminar in Communications and Response that was held the last week of August 2001, in Park City, Utah. Representatives from public safety, hospitals, emergency response, and public health were in attendance. The work that went into this meeting deserves recognition as an EXCEPTIONAL EFFORT IN PUBLIC HEALTH. We would like to thank Kathy Froerer, Lee Ann Wessol, Susan Lester, and Dean Penovich for all their work and efforts to plan, develop, and successfully carry out this meeting.
When Reporting a Communicable
Or in an emergency:
The September 2001 Epidemiology Newsletter is the most current
Utah Department of Health,
Bureau of Epidemiology
The Epidemiology Newsletter is published monthly by the Utah Department of Health, Division of Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Office of Epidemiology, to disseminate epidemiologic information to the health care professional and the general public.
Send comments to: The Office of Epidemiology, Box 142104, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2104, or call (801) 538-6191
Approval 8000008: Appropriation 3705
Rod Betit, Executive Director, Utah Department of Health