Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughs and sneezes. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people — such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions — are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Seasonal Influenza Activity in Alaska
Click figure to enlarge Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Alaska typically has sporadic flu activity year round with peak activity occurring as early as January or as late as March.
To view a snapshot of weekly influenza activity in Alaska click here.
To view detailed Alaska influenza surveillance data click here.
Spotlight on Influenza
On April 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that influenza A (H7N9), a type of flu usually seen in birds, has been identified in a number of people in China. At this time there have been no H7N9 cases identified outside of China. There has been no person-to-person transmission and no epidemiologic link between any of the cases so far. This is an evolving situation and there is still much to learn. CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available.
Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus
PHAN: Human Infections with Novel Influenza A (H7N9) Viruses (April 5, 2013)
Resources for the General Public
Where to Get Vaccinated Influenza vaccine is available at many medical clinics, public and community health clinics, local pharmacies or other community locations. Click here for information on where to get vaccinated in Alaska.
Influenza Fact Sheet Information on the symptoms of influenza and how to prevent the flu.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Homepage This website provides everything you need to know about influenza transmission, symptoms, prevention, treatment and more.
Resources for Health Care Professionals
Clinical Information Transmission, clinical signs and symptoms of illness, and complications of influenza.
Lab Diagnosis of Influenza Information on lab diagnostic testing.
Treatment Guidance on the use of antiviral agents for treatment and chemoprophylaxis.
Alaska State Virology Laboratory (ASVL) Weekly Report The ASVL Weekly report summarizes all specimens evaluated by the Lab in the previous week. Influenza data include results from viral culture/PCR testing by region and by rapid test results. Data are displayed by date of report (not dates of collection or onset).
Infection Control Guidelines for various settings, respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette.
Alaska State Public Health Laboratory (ASPHL) Services Manual This link details the laboratory services, turnaround times and contact information for the state labs in Anchorage and Fairbanks.