Rhode Island’s first 2021 influenza outbreak confirmed


A cluster of 28 students tested positive for influenza A since Oct. 24 at the University of Rhode Island (South Kingstown), the first known influenza outbreak of the state this year, according to the state’s department of health.

The state laboratory noted infection control procedures have been reviewed with the university, but there are no known common trends linking these students to the same dorms or classes.

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, officials stress that getting a flu vaccine is even more important this year. 

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, officials stress that getting a flu vaccine is even more important this year. 
(iStock)

A selection of student samples tested as the influenza A:H3 subtype with specimens forwarded to the CDC for further analysis.

Only 0.1% specimens tested positive for influenza in U.S. clinical laboratories this week, 38.5% of these were influenza A whereas 61.5% were influenza B, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) cumulative data since Oct. 3, 2021.

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Amid all the focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. health experts have another plea: Don’t skip your flu shot.  With U.S. schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking this fall, flu is likely to make a comeback. 

FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Amid all the focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. health experts have another plea: Don’t skip your flu shot.  With U.S. schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking this fall, flu is likely to make a comeback. 

In this photo provided by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky receives her flu shot on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 in Atlanta. The U.S. is gearing up in case of a bad flu season on top of the continuing COVID-19 crisis, with a plea Thursday for Americans to get vaccinated against both. (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases via AP)

In this photo provided by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky receives her flu shot on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 in Atlanta. The U.S. is gearing up in case of a bad flu season on top of the continuing COVID-19 crisis, with a plea Thursday for Americans to get vaccinated against both. (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases via AP)

FLU SEASON 2021: WHAT TO KNOW

The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet), which monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI), noted as of Oct. 23, 1.8% of all outpatient visits to a health care provider were due to an influenza-like illness, which is below the national baseline of 2.5%, “therefore, any increase in ILI activity is likely due to increased circulation of other respiratory viruses.”

CLICK HERE TO FIND A COVID-19 VACCINE NEAR YOU

The CDC recommends an annual influenza vaccine (for those eligible six months and older) as the best way to protect against influenza and its complications.

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