Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CDC confirmed flu cases show steep drop

Reported laboratory confirmed flu cases were down sharply for the most recent reporting period (ending Jan 12, 2013). 

CDC reported that out a total 12,360 specimens only 3,638 were positive for influenza (source FluView: http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html).

A (H3)                                                   1,603
2009 H1N1                                              45
A (Subtyping not Performed)            1,355
B                                                              635

But, it is hard to know what to believe when it comes to reported numbers.    Numbers for weeks 51 and 52 of 2012 have been revised (up) since they were first released.  So, the numbers for the week ending Jan 12, 2013 may be revised in the future.  It is troubling why the numbers are being tinkered with.  CDC receives a certain number of specimens per week.   This number should not change.  But, it appears that CDC is releasing numbers before the final counts are in (thus lessening their usefulness). 
As previously reported on this blog, the hysteria surrounding flu this season appears to be overblown.  And now the hard numbers are bearing this out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Calling BS on the Flu Hysteria for the week ending Jan 5, 2013

The Numbers Do Not Add Up
Who to believe, the CDC or the New York State Department of Health?
Last week, New York Governor Cuomo declared a public health emergency due to an outbreak of influenza.   But, the numbers just don’t add up.   The CDC has published numbers that show the new number of laboratory confirmed cases of flu nationwide totaled 4,222 (for week 1, 2013), down from a high of 5,108 for the last week of 2012. 
But, New York State is claiming that [laboratory-confirmed] “influenza was reported in all 57 counties plus New York City. There were 4,059 total reports, a 7% decrease over last week,”
 according to the weekly STATEWIDE INFLUENZA SURVEILLANCE REPORT, for the week ending January 5, 2013 (source:

The numbers just do not add up.  New York State cannot account for nearly 100% of all flu cases nationally. 

Weekly confirmed flu cases reported to CDC (source FluView, http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html).

YEAR      WEEK    number of confirmed cases
2012       40           162
2012       41           197
2012       42           299
2012       43           339
2012       44           408
2012       45           618
2012       46           841
2012       47           1328
2012       48           1995
2012       49           3366
2012       50           4449
2012       51           5417
2012       52           5108
2013       1              4222


Friday, January 11, 2013

Flu Season Appears To Be Ebbing, 4222 cases reported, but flu scare marches on

The influenza (“flu”) season appears to be ebbing.  For the week ending Jan 5, there were 4,222 laboratory confirmed cases reported to the CDC (source:  FluView http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html).
Out of a US population of 312 million, your chances of getting the flu are approaching zero. 
But, the drumbeat of the flu scare marches on. 
Approximately 130 million doses of the flu vaccine have been administered.   Millions of prescriptions for antivirals, like Tamiflu, have been written (even though the effectiveness this treatment has been called into question).
And, although nearly 27,500 people went to the hospital for flu-like symptoms, only 1/6 actually had the flu, so the vast majority of these symptoms were for something else.  

By the numbers --
Laboratory confirmed cases reported to the CDC for the week ending Jan 5, 2013:

A (subtyping not performed)                          1,550
A (H3)                                                                   1,783
A (H1)                                                                         0

B                                                                                853
2009 H1N1                                                                36
H3N2v                                                                         0
Total:                                                                     4,222