how physicians know what's going on

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I received this letter today from Karen Remley, Virginia Department of Health Commissioner.

Well, she didn't send it only to me but to  all physicians in the Commonwealth. I thought you might be interested to know how we physicians stay informed of what is happening in the public health arena.

As you can see from the letter, a case of influenza has been identified and there is a significant increase in the percent of patients seen at doctor's offices and emergency departments with flu-like illnesses. Not every illness that seems like influenza is caused by one of the flu viruses, but as activity of this type of illness increases, so does the likelihood that such illnesses are actually caused by the flu virus and are preventable by flu vaccine.

The isolation of influenza virus means that many more people have it than have been identified, and the number of people with infection from influenza will increase from now through the end of the winter or the beginning of the spring. So, if you haven't yet gotten your flu vaccine, you should do so right away. It takes about two weeks or longer for your antibody levels to be high enough to protect you from infection.

Also n the letter, Dr. Remley talks about the increase in pertussis cases this year, and encourages physicians to offer pertussis vaccines to adults who are in contact with infants, especially those who have not yet completed their primary series of immunizations.

letter_to_clinicians_VDH_flu_10_18_11

Please leave me any questions or comments you may have about influenza or pertussis and their vaccines.

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About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

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The AAP website for parents
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