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Gregory Dean, Fire Chief

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Seattle Fire
Department
Infectious Disease
Monitoring Update

Last Updated: January 13, 2014
LINKS
2009-2011 Influenza Surveillance Summaries

King County Public Health - Communicable Disease

PREVIOUS COMMENTS

1/13/4/2013 Comments:  The percentage of patients with influenza-like symptoms (ILS)  peaked in mid-February and has dropped fairly consistently since then.  The level of (ILS) is back to "normal" for this time of year, consistent with previous years. This is also consistent with the significant drop in confirmed virus cases from the UW Virology Lab from February 9th through the 16th.

1/28/2013 Comments
A significant increase in influenza-like symptoms (ILS) has occurred over the past two weeks.  Data and charts (link above) show that the percentage of patients seen with ILS is now comparable to the second wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic outbreak. The Coefficient of Determination for a 14-day moving averages (from the data page) are above 0.9 for ILS, fever and fever with other symptoms, and the fever or cough or respiratory.  The raw number of patients with ILS has increased 30% in the past two weeks.  Also, the geographic distribution of patients with ILS indicates that flu-like symptoms are fairly wide spread around the city.  Two maps - generated from the First Watch monitoring and alerting system - for ILS events January 1 through January 27, 2013 show the distribution of Fever and the Cough-Fever-Respiratory combination of symptoms.

1/18/2013 CommentsAs widely reported, influenza is prevalent in the region and is reflected in the number and percentage of patients with influenza-like symptoms.  The charts (accessible from the link above) show a substantial increase in symptoms over the past couple of weeks.  The Coefficient of Determination for a 7-day moving average from December 7th to now is 0.8 for fever and fever with other symptoms, and 0.9 for cough, fever, respiratory and other symptoms. 

1/2/2013 Comments: Consistent with previous years, influenza-like symptoms found in the field have significantly increased from mid-December to now.  The significance of the increase is reflected in the Coefficient of Determination:  0.83 for ILS overall, 0.6 for fever and fever with other symptoms, and 0.84 for fever or cough or respiratory.  (A score of 0.7 or more is a significant increase and less than 0.4 is an insignificant change.)

The King County Public Health and UW Virology Lab are now reporting significant increases in influenza-like illnesses and laboratory confirmed influenza viral strains from 12/1/2012 through 12/22/2012.

12/15/2012 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms found in the field have tapered off from early December to now.  This is consistent with prior years. However, King County Public Health reported increases in confirmed influenza through 12/8/2012 from prior weeks. Additional scrutiny of the Fire Infectious Disease Monitoring Program data and Public Health data will be done over the next 2 weeks to determine if the symptom trend is consistent with the confirmed cases of influenza and similar viruses.  FYI:  the ProMed web site has reported multiple cases of rat bite fever in Chelan and Douglas counties and possibly Grant county.  Symptoms are similar (but not identical to influenza.)  Read the notice here

12/03/2012 CommentsAs reported by ProMED (http://www.promedmail.org/) this past week there has been a significant increase in flu activity in the south-central and southeast of the country.  Virus activity tracked by King County Public Health indicate an increase in certain illnesses but nothing significant. The percentage of patients with symptoms tracked by the Fire Department has been relatively flat through November and is generally consistent with prior flu seasons.

10/20/2012 CommentsOver The percentage of patients with ILS has steadily increased over symptoms found in October. The increase is generally consistent with the increase in Rhinovirus and Parainfluenza viruses detected by the UW Virology Laboratory and reported by King County Public Health.  The increase in November is consistent with the increase for the same time period during the 2011-2012 flu season.

10/20/2012 Comments
Over the past few weeks the percentage of patients with ILS has increased over symptoms found in September. The increase is generally consistent with increase in Rhinovirus and Parainfluenza viruses detected by the UW Virology Laboratory.  The increase in October is also consistent with increase in ILS at the start of the 2011-2012 flu season.
12/19/2011 CommentsOver the past 10 weeks the percentage of patients with ILS has been relatively flat with up-and-down flucuations. ILS increased in October through mid November, dropped from mid-November to early December and have increased in the past two weeks. The pattern is generally consistent with confirmed cases of viruses detected by the UW Virology Laboratory.

10/01/2011 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) have been relatively flat since the end of the 2010-2011 flu season (end of April). This is consistent with the confirmed cases of viruses detected by the UW Virology Laboratory.  If symptoms found in the field start to increase in the first two weeks of October it will be consistent with prior year's trends, and consistent with the start of a new flu season.

02/10/2011 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) have increased from mid-January through the first week of February.  As reported by King County Public Health and UW Virology Laboratory there has been an increase in Influenza A and other viruses (Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Rhinovirus) from mid-January to the end of January.  The pattern of increase (Dec-Jan) - decrease (Jan) - increase (Jan-Feb) in flu symptoms found is consistent with the past two years. Also, the pattern of flu symptoms found is tracking fairly closely with confirmed viruses - i. e., but about 1 week ahead of laboratory confirmed cases.

01/17/2011 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) have increased from mid-December through the first week of January but have started to decline.  This is consistent with increase/decline in 2007-thru-2009 period. In other words, the fluctuation is normal for this time of year.

12/30/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) have increased over the past two weeks but the increase is consistent with increases in 2007-thru-2009 period. In other words, the increase is normal for this time of year. The 14-day moving averages have correlation coefficients ranging from 0.86 to 0.93 (and associated R-squared values of 0.78 to 0.87).

11/22/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) have increased significantly over the past two weeks. The 14-day moving averages have correlation coefficients ranging from 0.95 to 0.97 (and associated R-squared values of 0.90 to 0.94).  See the Data & Charts link below.

Data from the first two weeks of November from King County Public Health and UW Virology have not shown an increase in confirmed influenza or influenza-like-illness.  The Fire Department symptom data will be monitored more closely over the next two weeks to see if the pattern continuous.

10/25/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) followed a pattern in September and October similar to previous years - i. e., an increase in late August through mid September, a decrease in mid-September to late October.  Influenza-like symptoms have increased over the past two weeks. The 14-day moving averages have statistically significant correlation coefficients ranging from 0.68 to 0.95 (and associated R-squared values of 0.475 to 0.91).

The increase may be the result of an increase of Repirsatory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV is not an influenza virus but one that is common in the community and associated with the "common cold". The UW Virology Laboratory reports of confirmed RSV cases shows a significant increase from September 18 and October 16, 2010 (correlation coefficient of 0.88) and greater increase between September 25th and October 16th (correlation coefficient of 0.94).

08/22/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms are increasing and starting to mirror the start of the 2008-2009 normal flu season.  The 14-day moving averages have statistically significant correlation coefficients ranging from 0.80 to 0.85 (and associated R-squared values of 0.65 to 0.73). 

05/30/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms have returned to normal seasonal levels.  There was a minor outbreak of Norovirus in April which may explain the increase in symptoms found during the first two weeks of that month.  The rate of ILS has dropped back to expected levels and are slightly below the level of symptoms found in the 2007 and 2008 for the April-May time period.

An updated report on the monitoring program that was presented to Fire Department paramedic management and staff in December 2009 is contained in the Analytical Reports section.  In addition, a short report on the value of using responses to dispatcher medical questions in detecting flu-like symptoms is accessible from the Analytical Reports page.

02/27/2010 Comments: A substantial decrease in influenza-like symptoms (ILS) has occurred in the past two weeks and ILS levels are well below levels observed in 2007 and 2008 for this time period.  The previous increases in early February may have been due to an increase in illness from non-influenza viruses.  The UW Virology labs noted a significant increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) from late November 2009 through to February 13, 2010 while detected influenza viruses remained constant-to-declining for this time period.

02/13/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) continue to increase over the past three weeks consistent with increases during this time period in 2007 and 2008. Coefficients of determination (R-squared) for symptom categories range from 0.8 1to  0.95.  Go to the Data & Charts link, below for details.

02/9/2010 CommentsInfluenza-like symptoms (ILS) have substantially increased over the past two weeks and have reached the same levels observed in 2007 and 2008 for the same time periods. Coefficients of determination (R-squared) for symptom categories range from 0.89 to  0.91

02/2/2010 CommentsThe occurrences of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) over the past two weeks have started to increase consistent with increases in the same time period in 2007 and 2008.

01/18/2010 CommentsThe occurrences of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) over the past two weeks have dropped slightly below the same time period in 2007 and 2008. The trend has been down (i. e., R-squared values are pointing in the negative direction).

01/11/2010 CommentsThe occurrences of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) have leveled off over the past two weeks. At this point the percentage of patients with symptoms are slightly below the same time period in 2007 and 2008.

01/02/2010 CommentsThe occurrences of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) continue to increase over the past two weeks. Coefficients of determination for the moving average values between 12/19 and 01/01/2010 are 0.5 to 0.9 (a significant increase from zero for the 12/13-12/26 period).  The increase is consistent with the increases observed in the same time period in 2007 and 2008.

12/27/2009 CommentsThe occurrences of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) are starting to increase. This is consistent with trends during the 2008 and 2007 flu seasons - i. e., from mid-December to the end of December the occurrence of ILS starts increasing.  Correlation coefficients for the moving average values between 12/13 and 12/26/2009 are zero.  Since the previous trend was negative (declining) the fact that the coefficients are now zero indicates a reversal of the downward trend. See Data and Charts link, below.

12/19/2009 CommentsSymptoms found are now slightly below levels observed in the 2008 flu season and equivalent to the 2007 flu season.  Correlation coefficients for the moving average values between 12/6 and 12/19/2009 are significant and negative (-0.97) indicating a steep drop in symptoms found amongst patients during this time period.  See Data and Charts link, below.

12/04/2009 CommentsSymptoms found are now at the levels observed in the 2007 and 2008 flu periods.  See information on the Data and Charts link below.

12/04/2009 CommentsContinued drop in the percentage of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) found from the previous 14 day period. Symptoms found are now very close to the levels observed in the 2007 and 2008 flu periods.

11/29/2009 CommentsThe percentage of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) found has dropped in the past 14 days below the levels that occurred during the April H1N1 outbreak and are starting to return to the levels observed in the 2007 and 2008 flu periods.

11/16/2009 CommentsThe percentage of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) found has flattened out over the past 14 days and remain at the same (peak) levels that occurred during the April H1N1 outbreak.  The R values for the different flu symptom tables range essentially "zero".

11/10/2009 CommentsThe percentage of influenza-like symptoms (ILS) found has declined in the past 14 days and have returned to the same (peak) levels that occurred during the April H1N1 outbreak.  The R values for the different flu symptom tables range from 0.59 to 0.85 in the negative (declining) direction.

11/04/2009 CommentsThe previous 7 days shows a leveling off in the percentage of patients with influenza-like symptoms.  The percentages remain significantly above those found during the H1N1 outbreak earlier this year and significantly above the percentages in the previous two years.

10/30/2009 Comments: The previous 14 days indicate a steady increase in the percentage of patients with influenza-like systems (ILS).  The link below lists data for the previous 14 days.  The growth in symptoms is measured by the coefficient of determination (R).  The closer to 1 the R value the stronger the increase is over the 14 day time period.  The R values for the different flu symptom tables range from 0.88 to 0.95.  This indicates very significant growth.

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Last Modified:   January 13, 2014