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The CDC Director Urges Vaccinations Over Increasing Respiratory Diseases in Georgia!


As Georgia confronts a surge in respiratory illnesses, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen has issued an urgent appeal for residents to get vaccinated. The state is currently grappling with heightened flu activity and alarmingly low vaccination rates, making this call to action particularly crucial.

Dr. Cohen emphasizes the significance of early treatment for flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19, highlighting the need for increased vigilance and preventive measures to ensure a healthy holiday season. Recent data from the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) reveals a worrying trend in Georgia.

For week 47 of 2023, about 5.4% of patient visits were attributed to influenza-like illness (ILI), surpassing the regional baseline of 3.3%. ILINet’s findings, while not exclusively indicative of confirmed influenza cases, reflect a broader trend of increasing respiratory illnesses, which may include other viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.

The CDC Director Urges Vaccinations Over Increasing Respiratory Diseases in Georgia!

The shift in healthcare-seeking behavior due to the emergence of COVID-19 also factors into these statistics, underscoring the complexity of the current health landscape. The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-Net) reports a total of 279 laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations in the metro Atlanta area for the 2023-2024 season, with 61 of these occurring in week 47 alone.

This data underlines the severity of the flu’s impact on the community, necessitating a robust response in terms of vaccination and public health initiatives. Fortunately, the number of influenza-associated deaths remains relatively low, with two confirmed deaths for the entire 2023-2024 season and none reported in week 47.

However, the presence of eight confirmed influenza outbreaks in the state for the same season is a reminder of the virus’s capability to spread rapidly, particularly in group settings or communities with lower vaccination coverage. In addition to influenza, the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) provides insight into the prevalence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Georgia.

The CDC Director Urges Vaccinations Over Increasing Respiratory Diseases in Georgia!

During week 47, clinical laboratories reported testing 2,736 antigen specimens and 2,110 PCR specimens for RSV, with positive results in 10.0% and 14.6% of the tests, respectively. These figures indicate the ongoing circulation of RSV, another significant contributor to respiratory illness during this season.

In light of these developments, Dr. Cohen’s advocacy for vaccinations becomes even more pertinent. With a multi-faceted approach encompassing early treatment, increased awareness, and proactive vaccination campaigns, Georgia aims to mitigate the impact of respiratory illnesses and safeguard public health during a critical period.

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