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11:17 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Shutdown Halts Flu Trackers

Credit www.slate.com

The political stalemate in Washington has kept health officials in the dark about the status of the flu.

Dr. John Treanor, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says, “One of the many unfortunate effects of the government shutdown, is that the normal flu surveillance, which would be carried out by the Centers for Disease Control, is not happening and not being reported, so I can’t tell you for sure right now if we’re seeing flu activity in the rest of the country. Here in Rochester we’re not seeing any positive cases.” 

While health officials can only speculate on whether it will be a severe flu season, they are reminding people to get their flu shot.

The University of Rochester is also taking part in a national study to find a possible vaccine to fight H7N9, better known as the bird flu. A new strain of the virus was seen in China this past spring. The reopening of poultry markets in China has health officials on guard for the possible spread of the virus.  

URMC is looking for 48 study participants between 18 and 49 who are healthy and able to stay in isolation for 12 days in a local facility.  The test vaccine does contain a live virus. 

More information is available at 585-273-3990.