Flu is still circulating throughout Alaska and it is still not too late for people to get a flu vaccine. Getting an annual flu vaccine can prevent against influenza and promote overall health. Flu currently poses a far greater health risk to Alaskans than COVID-19.
Influenza B remains the predominant strain this season (see the SOE Flu Snapshot); however, influenza A H1N1 activity is beginning to increase considerably in the Lower 48 suggesting that there may be a second wave of influenza activity on its way to Alaska. Visit our flu website to learn more. You can also sign up to receive our weekly Flu Snapshot updates. If your patients are wondering why it’s important to get a flu shot every year, the CDC has helpful materials for providers. Please let patients know that it’s not too late to get vaccinated. Even if they do get the flu, they will likely get a milder case and be at lower risk for hospitalization with the vaccine.
Syphilis case counts continued to rise through January and February 2020. The epidemiology of the ongoing syphilis outbreak continues to change over time, with increasing numbers of cases occurring through heterosexual transmission, among those who use drugs, and among the homeless population. We strongly urge health care providers to obtain sexual histories and conduct risk assessments on patients and screen according to national guidance: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Syphilis Screening Guidance for Non-Pregnant Adults and Adolescents. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for syphilis infection in persons who are at increased risk for infection (Grade A).
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to prevent acquisition of HIV in high risk individuals is part of a comprehensive HIV prevention plan and the reduction of new HIV infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a new guide for providers on prescribing PrEP.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has given PrEP a grade A recommendation.