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Update: Influenza in Nursing Homes -- Michigan, Minnesota

In Michigan, where one nursing home outbreak of influenza has previously been reported (1), an additional 18 nursing homes have reported outbreaks of influenza-like illness occurring from December 16, 1982, to January 10, 1983. Thirteen are located in the southeastern area of the state, and five are located elsewhere in the lower peninsula. So far, influenza virus has been isolated from one outbreak; results of other laboratory studies are pending. Despite these outbreaks, other indicators of influenza activity have increased only slightly in Michigan.

In Minnesota, state and local health officials are investigating outbreaks of influenza-like illness that began from December 25, 1982, to January 7, 1983, at six nursing homes in five counties in central Minnesota. As of January 10, outbreaks of influenza-like illness in 28 nursing homes had been reported to CDC. Investigation of a previously reported outbreak in New York (2) has indicated 49 (60%) of 81 residents experienced influenza-like illnesses in December; four have died.

California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin have reported their first influenza virus isolates for this season from sporadic cases in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Milwaukee. So far this season, influenza virus type A(H3N2) has been isolated in 19 states. Reported by J Webber, MPH, W Hall, MD, Michigan State Dept of Public Health; D Peterson, MS, J Goods, MPH, Minnesota State Dept of Public Health; V Birnberg, MD, F Sorvillo, MPH, B Weiss, MPH, B Agee, MD, Los Angeles, California; State Laboratory Directors and State Epidemiologists; Consolidated Surveillance Activity, Epidemiology Program Office, Influenza Br, Div of Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Although many reports this winter concerning influenza-like illness relate to nursing homes or homes for the aged, an unusual propensity for current strains to affect the elderly is not necessarily implied. In many states, communications from such facilities about disease outbreaks are actively promoted by the state health department. Furthermore, the closing of schools and colleges for winter vacation may have temporarily prevented outbreaks in these populations, which would likely be reported to state and local health departments. While the current level of reports suggests that influenza activity this winter will be greater than last year's very sporadic outbreaks, reliable forecasts cannot be made with the available information. Persons who are at high risk of serious illness if infected with influenza and who have not yet received vaccine should still be encouraged to do so.

References

  1. CDC. Update: influenza--United States. MMWR 1982;31: 702.

  2. CDC. Influenza update--United States. MMWR 1982;31:696.

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