Flu season gets started; feds on furlough can't record data

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by Karen Grace / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @KENSKarenGrace

kens5.com

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 9 at 10:29 AM

While the flu season may be starting, the Feds can't track it.

That's a scary thought according to local doctors who fear without the data, they can't predict how bad the season will be and get people the vaccinations and medications they need.

The biggest concern local doctors say is what if there's a new strain of the flu? With the Centers for Disease Control on hold, where can local health officials turn to for data?

"The biggest concern you'd have is if there was a new flu strain like 2009's H1N1 flu, the CDC was able to use data from other states," Bowling said. "The worst case scenario is if there's a new flu strain developed and its not covered by vaccines. You see people get sick from the flu and you would want make sure we have antivirals to treat it."

They rely on that information to mobilize and strike against bad flu seasons like the H1N1 strain in 2009.

The government shutdown forced the furlough of nearly 9,000 workers at the CDC.

Local health officials say that has compromised weekly reports on flu patterns which determine when and where flu outbreaks are happening.

Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist with UT Medicine says every season is unpredictable and this information is critical to save lives.

 

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