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Influenza Outbreaks -- Alaska

Alaska state health officials reported outbreaks of influenza-like illness in most areas of the state during the last 2 weeks of November. Although physicians have noted cases in adults, most cases have been reported in schoolchildren. Absentee rates in excess of 20% have been reported in schools located near Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau in association with increased influenza-like illness among students.

Preliminary laboratory testing identified six type A(H3N2) influenza viruses in specimens collected from patients in Anchorage and Fairbanks, where sporadic influenza was reported from late September to mid-October. Laboratory identification of viral isolates from the recent outbreaks is pending. Reported by D Ritter, L Curtin, Northern Regional Laboratory, JP Middaugh, MD, State Epidemiologist, Div of Public Health, Alaska Dept of Health and Social Svcs; Div of Field Svcs, Epidemiology Program Office, Influenza Br, Div of Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

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