There's some evidence nationally and here in Massachusetts that the current wave of H1N1 flu activity may have peaked. The weekly report from the Mass. Department of Public Health shows a decline in influenza-like illness from the previous week. You can download the State's report here: (Download Weekly-report-11_19_09) And today the CDC reported that all ten HHS regions of the U.S. are reporting a decline in flu-like illness. However, as we've seen throughout this pandemic, flu is unpredictable and can spread differently from community to community.
While many states are experiencing declines, states like Maine and Hawaii are experiencing increases. During the spring outbreak, here in Massachusetts, the city of Boston and Middlesex County were hit especially hard relative to other areas of the state.
The Mass. DPH also reported two additional deaths attributed to H1N1 today -- an adult and a child. These deaths are tragic reminders of how serious flu can be for some people. Unfortunately, we should prepare to hear about more deaths both nationally and here in the Bay State. There is often a rhythm to flu outbreaks; first come the increase in cases, then come the increase in hospitalizations and then come the reports of deaths. These deaths, especially in children, understandably increase anxiety but it is important to remember that most people who get the 2009 H1N1 flu will recover.
Here's a report on the most recent deaths from NECN featuring Dr. Lauren Smith, DPH Medical Director: