Tuesday 5/8 at the MGH museum: Influenza — Then (1918) and Now (2018)”

russell-med-brand-canvas-340x255_1The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Mass General Hospital invites you to attend its next evening lecture. “Influenza — Then (1918) and Now (2018)” will be presented by Martin S. Hirsch, MD, of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 from 6 to 8 pm in the museum’s Putnam Gallery. 

Free but registrations suggested. required.

 

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#Flu cases are #declining in #Massachusetts while they are rising nationally.

Massachusetts January 19 report.

Provider offices across the US report the amount of influenza‐like illness (ILI) they see in their patients each week during regular flu season.  These outpatient providers’ offices, which include doctors’ offices, school health services, and community health centers, are called ‘sentinel sites.’  Here we present Massachusetts sentinel site data.  Please note that
the data represent not only confirmed influenza cases, but also those just with ILI, which may be caused by other viruses.
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CDC January 13 report. 

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Chart: #Flu spike in Massachusetts compared to 2011/2012 season

 

From the MDPH and the CDC:

Sentinel Provider Surveillance: Influenza-like illness activity

Week 51 Activity[1] (representing geographic distribution): Widespread

Week 51 ILI Activity[2] (representing intensity of ILI activity): High

Provider offices across the US report the amount of influenza-like illness (ILI) they see in their patients each week during regular flu season.  These outpatient providers’ offices, which include doctors’ offices, school health services, and community health centers, are called ‘sentinel sites.’  Here we present Massachusetts sentinel site data.  Please note that the data do not represent only confirmed influenza cases, but also those just with ILI, which may be caused by other viruses. ILI is defined as fever above 100.01 in addition to either cough or sore throat.  ILI is a marker of influenza and is used throughout the regular influenza season to monitor influenza since most people are not tested for influenza. Figure 1 shows that ILI activity continues to increase and is much higher than what is typically seen at this time of year.  For more information, see CDC’s influenza surveillance website at www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivitysurv.htm.

 

Figure 1: Percentage of ILI visits reported by sentinel provider sites

flu chart

 

 

[1] CDC activity indicator also used in past seasons – indicates how widespread influenza activity level is in the state.

[2] New CDC activity indicator, introduced for 2010-2011 season – more quantitative indicator of the level of ILI activity across the state.

Infection control: WBUR on MGH hand-washing rap

Sacha Pfeiffer offers a nice bit of multimedia on the silly but effective steps area hospitals are taking to get workers to wash their hands.  She tagged along with the hand washing police, but failed to get in on a bust.  

No reggae soundtrack. Instead, I woke up this morning to RN Pauline Albrecht’s  “Cal-Stat” rap. Beware –you’ll get “Boom boom, chicka chick –Cal Stat” stuck in your head.

A nurse at Mass General made a music video, called the “Cal Stat Rap,” as a cutesy way to address a serious issue. It’s been shown to hospital officials, visitors and at educational presentations. In what could be the next YouTube sensation, it features nurses rhymin’, high-fivin’ and conga-line dancin’ as they demonstrate proper hand hygiene.

“When you go and give a little handshake,” the lyrics go, “a little squirt is all it takes. Boom boom chicka chick Cal Stat.”

Preventing swine flu: How to wash your hands

This morning, my son told me “I’m getting better a washing my hands.”  What he meant was – maybe I don’t have to harass him every morning to do it before he goes out.  Thank you swine flu.

But, I pointed out that he could pick up some expert techniques from this morning’s Globe. (Yes, there was a Globe this morning.)

The Metro section has a fun story and a video of the state’s chief epidemiologist, Alfred DeMaria, demonstrating how to properly wash your hands.

People say, ‘Well, you know, this is kind of trivial,’ ” DeMaria said of his hygiene tips. “The fact is, if you do these things, you can reduce transmission in your own family and your own community. And when you have something like swine flu, where we really don’t know where it’s going to go or what it is exactly, it’s so important that everybody do that now.”

If you need to dry clean the shirt you’re wearing, you might want to have a box of tissues handy because there is a related public health push to get people to cough into their sleeves.

Maine ENT Ben Lounsbury has produced a video under the name OtoRhinoLounsburgology Productions entitled “Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves.”

It can be enjoyed by individuals, but it is even more fun to watch in groups, resulting in community reinforcement. It has been used in hospitals and schools with great success. It actually makes people change the way they cough and sneeze.

Don’t miss the sequel on hand washing – Soap in the City. I kid you not. I found links to both on the Massachusetts Department of Health website.

Latest Massachusetts flu updates

I can’t get them up fast enough. So check in below. As of Thursday early afternoon, the Globe was reporting that the Lowell brothers — the state’s only 2 confirmed cases –did not infect anyone on their little league team.

The Globe flu update.

  

Mass Dept. of Health 

 

 The New York Times has a “flu tracker”  map with updates.

 Keep this, also from the Times, in mind as you read: 

Without the news media the public would be dangerously unaware of the swine flu outbreak, but perhaps without saturation coverage on cable news networks and the velocity of information on the Internet, the public would not be so hysterical, medical professionals said.

“It’s a fine line between educating people and frightening them,” said Dr. Marvin J. Tenenbaum, the director of medicine at St. Francis Hospital on Long Island.