Flu Surveillance Program Down During Government Shutdown - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Flu Surveillance Program Down During Government Shutdown

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We're in the earliest days of the flu season, but you won't find out how many cases there are from the CDC.

Visit the CDC website and you get this message:

Due to the lapse in government funding, only web sites supporting excepted functions will be updated unless otherwise funded. As a result, the information on this website may not be up to date, the transactions submitted via the website may not be processed, and the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.

Its flu surveillance program is shut down until the government is back up and running.

Sharing information about activity is now left up to individual states.

Deputy State epidemiologist Dr. Laurie Forlano says Virginia continues tracking cases as it always has, but right now no one at the federal level is doing anything with the data.

Her office is keeping in touch with counterparts in other states to stay on top of any epidemics or outbreaks

"If that scenario presented itself we would definitely provide information to people here in Virginia because our goal is to make sure everybody is protected and remains healthy through the season," she says.

Forlano says the Virginia Department of Health will do its best to communicate what's happening here by updating its flu surveillance page with activity levels, lab results and more.

But we'll have to wait for the big picture of what's happening nationwide.

"As soon as the government shut down ends, what I expect to happen is that they'll retrospectively produce all of that data again but it would be nice to have it in real time, of course."

Forlano says the best line of defense is a flu shot and they are widely available in Virginia.

The government shutdown hasn't affected any distribution or local programs.

To find a clinic near you, click here.

 

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