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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

May 23, 2002

FINAL SURVEILLANCE REPORT OF WINTER FLU SEASON RELEASED
MONITORING TO CONTINUE THROUGHOUT SUMMER 

Charlotte, NC – With no new flu or flu-like illnesses reported during the final week of statewide surveillance, the 2001-2002 winter flu season has quietly closed.  Diagnoses of the flu peaked during January and February, but North Carolina did not see any unexpected levels of flu activity. 

“The state coverage of flu reporting was more extensive than previous winters, and we hope to maintain and even increase the network of sentinels throughout the state next year,” says Torrey McLean, epidemiologist with the state Department of Health and Human Services. 

McLean says a scaled-down version of the surveillance system will continue throughout the summer.  Periodic reports will be issued by the state and will be posted on the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Web site, http://www.meckhealth.org.  Weekly reporting will begin again in the fall. 

“Hopefully, we won’t hear much about it until the fall,” says Dr. Stephen Keener, medical director for the Mecklenburg County Health Department, “since this is generally not a busy part of the country for influenza during the summer months.” 

In North Carolina, 40 health care centers spread throughout 25 counties are participating in influenza surveillance.  During the summer surveillance program, 21 different sites will participate. 

This program helps identify the emergence of flu strains and possible flu outbreaks and assists the North Carolina State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring influenza activity in this state and the rest of the country.  An effective system to report flu symptoms can be adapted quickly to other situations that can help the state track disease trends in case of an emergency. 

The complete NC influenza sentinel surveillance report and comparative national data from the CDC are posted on the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Web site, http://www.meckhealth.org.



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