According to new surveillance statistics released on Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), forty-seven states in the U.S. are now reporting widespread influenza activity . The virus, which first appeared in the Southeast, has reached epidemic levels.
Walmart and Sam’s Club (a division of Wal-Mart Stores) recently announced the launch of expanded immunization services across the United States, signaling the company’s expansion into healthcare services [1, 2]. In partnership with Mollen Immunization Clinics, ten of the CDC-recommended immunizations will be offered in more than 2,700 Walmart stores and 554 Sam’s Club pharmacy locations.
During pregnancy, women need to take special care to avoid becoming ill. There are several reasons for this. The first is that a pregnant woman’s immune system is not as strong during pregnancy as it generally is; this helps to prevent the mother’s body from attacking the developing fetus. Unfortunately, however, the weakened immune system also means that pregnant mothers are more susceptible to pathogens that they’d otherwise fight off relatively easily. Increased susceptibility aside, there’s also the concern that some illnesses — influenza included — can impact the developing fetus. Finally, there’s the simple fact that many of the medications used to treat illnesses and their accompanying symptoms aren’t appropriate for pregnant women.
Know What to Do About the Flu is a webcast series launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to hlep distribute timely and accurate information about the flu. Their goal is to distribute the latest facts and medical guidances so we can all be more effective in combating the spread of the flu and be better prepared should our families, our communities or our workplaces become affected.
In this edition, moderator Lark McCarthy discusses the level of testing prior to the H1N1 influenza A vaccine distribution and the subsequent monitoring that’s planned during and after the phases of distribution with Dr. Bruce Gellin, Director of the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) within the HHS, Dr. Jesse Goodman, acting chief scientist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).