Triad Doctors Help Track Flu Trends

11:46 PM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A lot more people might be seeing the world from behind a medical mask as flu cases continue to rise across the state.

Doctors are offering masks to patients at the front desk because of the virus, and some hospitals are restricting visitors.

READ: Hospitals With Visitor Restrictions Due to The Flu

Five people died in the state in the last week because of the flu - bringing the total number of deaths to 13 since October.

All of those people were between the ages of 25 and 65.

READ: NC Flu Deaths Rise to 13 in 2013-2014 Season

"We serve as a watch tower for influenza," explained Dr. Sloan Manning, Family Physician, Novant Health PrimeCare.

Dr. Sloan Manning and his team at PrimeCare is not only busy with patients, but tracking the flu. 

"We will report how individuals had what we called influenza like illness which is defined as a fever of 100 or better plus a sore throat and a cough and we break it up into age categories and send it to the state health department," explained Dr. Manning.

Hospitals, health departments, colleges, and doctors offices like PrimeCare send weekly reports to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

They are responsible for influenza surveillance in the state as part of the N.C. Influenza Sentinel Surveillance Program.

Their reports are sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and are used to create the weekly FluView report.

"You want to be able to plan for prevention. People need to know, the public at large would like to know, clinicians, like ourselves would like to know what's in the community so that we know what to look for, what to test for," said Dr. Manning.

The information from the CDC's FluView, and Manning's reports, winds up in flu-tracking apps and websites

Users are able to find where and how the flu and spreading, and what the risk is in their area.

Google has their own way of following the flu with their Flu Trends. They found certain search-terms are good indicators of actual flu activity. Based on those searches, they say flu activity is "high" in North Carolina.

The CDC's last report rates flu-activity in North Carolina as moderate.

WFMY News 2

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