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2009-2010 flu season

As part of our ongoing coverage of health in our community and the H1N1 flu pandemic, LJWorld.com is tracking flu data from state and federal public health agencies. Data presented below are updated weekly, and reports on each individual week are also available.

Flu activity

Widespread flu activity

Regional flu activity

Localized flu activity

Sporadic flu activity

No flu activity

No report available

The flu activity indicator is provided by the US Centers for Disease Control, and indicates how widespread -- not how severe -- flu (both seasonal and H1N1) is in a given area. CDC monitors the flu season closely, and collects data from multiple sources:

  • Public health laboratories in all fifty states
  • ILINet, a nationwide network of medical facilities reporting on influenza-like illness (ILI)
  • Deaths reported to vital statistics offices in 122 cities around the country
  • The Emerging Infections Program, monitoring flu-related hospitalization in 12 major metropolitan areas
  • Reports from epidemiologists in each state

Source: CDC flu surveillance; last updated January 30, 2010.

Flu mortality

All deaths in Kansas are reported to KDHE, which provides weekly information on the total number of deaths of all types, as well as deaths related to flu and pneumonia. KDHE also publishes news releases tracking deaths related to H1N1.

Flu/pneumonia-related deaths in Kansas (by week), 10/10/2009-01/30/2010

Total deaths in Kansas vs. flu/pneumonia-related and H1N1-related deaths
Week ending Total deaths (all causes) Flu/pneumonia-related deaths (all types) H1N1-related deaths
10/10/2009 456 30 0
10/17/2009 378 22 2
10/24/2009 543 49 0
10/31/2009 447 32 4
11/07/2009 486 37 5
11/14/2009 367 24 0
11/21/2009 538 32 3
11/28/2009 299 22 0
12/05/2009 352 41 0
12/12/2009 399 47 1
12/19/2009 452 35 2
12/26/2009 401 29 1
01/02/2010 338 24 0
01/09/2010 604 41 1
01/16/2010 611 56 0
01/23/2010 630 46 0
01/30/2010 559 35 1
Age breakdown of flu-related deaths in Kansas, 09/26/2009-01/30/2010
65 and older Under 65 Unknown
Flu/pneumonia (all types) 568 97 1
H1N1 4 16 0

Data based on the dates on which deaths were reported to KDHE, which may differ from the actual date of death. Source: KDHE epidemiology reports and news releases; last updated January 30, 2010.

Self-reported influenza-like illness

Kansas participates in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a nationwide health survey coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control. The BRFSS questionnaire gathers information on general health, behaviors (such as smoking) which constitute health risks, use of preventive care and certain types of chronic diseases and injuries.

In September 2009, the BRFSS questionnaire was revised to include flu-related questions. Flu-related results from the revised BRFSS questionnaire are published by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) as part of its weekly reports on flu epidemiology in Kansas.

Although the information gathered through BRFSS is useful as a monitoring tool, a few important points must be stressed:

  • BRFSS data is self-reported: the information comes from people describing their own health and their families' health, not from doctors or other medical professionals.
  • The BRFSS questions gather data on influenza-like illness (ILI). Because this is not tied to any medical diagnosis, reports of ILI do not necessarily correspond to actual cases of flu.
  • Due to the nature of the survey, BRFSS data can lag somewhat behind other indicators. Each report of BRFSS data covers questionnaire responses for a two-week period.

Self-reported influenza-like illness in Kansas (by end of survey period)

Self-reported influenza-like illness in Kansas
Adults reporting ILI within previous 2 weeks Adults reporting ILI within previous 4 weeks Children reporting ILI within previous 4 weeks Households reporting ILI within previous 4 weeks
09/01/2009-09/15/2009 2.3% 4.7% 16.9% 14.9%
09/16/2009-09/30/2009 3.9% 9.3% 26.3% 21.7%
10/01/2009-10/15/2009 3.7% 9.1% 37.3% 23.7%
10/16/2009-10/31/2009 5.6% 11.2% 42.6% 33.5%
11/01/2009-11/15/2009 3.4% 9.1% 38.2% 26.8%
11/16/2009-11/29/2009 2.5% 6.3% 32.5% 28.8%
12/01/2009-12/15/2009 3.4% 8.8% 26.0% 23.3%
12/16/2009-12/31/2009 1.0% 6.8% 24.7% 24.9%

Source: BRFSS (via KDHE epidemiology reports); last updated December 31, 2009.

School absences

In addition to direct medical data, KDHE tracks and publishes absence rates for schools in Kansas (gathered through local health departments). Weekly reports give the percentage of schools in each county which had 10% or more of students absent in that week.

Percentage of Douglas County schools reporting 10% or more of students absent in previous week

Percentage of Douglas County schools reporting 10% or more of students absent in previous week
Elementary schools Middle schools High schools
10/24/2009 33% 33% 50%
10/31/2009 43% 33% 33%
11/07/2009 15% 25% 33%
11/14/2009 63% 50% 67%
11/21/2009 N/A N/A N/A
11/28/2009 59% 29% 29%
12/05/2009 38% 0% 100%
12/12/2009 78% 67% 100%
12/19/2009 N/A N/A N/A
12/26/2009 N/A N/A N/A
01/02/2010 N/A N/A N/A
01/09/2010 N/A N/A N/A
01/16/2010 N/A N/A N/A
01/23/2010 57% 0% 50%
01/30/2010 N/A N/A N/A

Gaps in data indicate breaks and holidays observed by the school district. Source: KDHE epidemiology reports; last updated January 30, 2010.