Weekly influenza activity tracking is now live on the CDC website (link)
The CDC is recommending universal vaccination (for all >6 months of age); the vaccine is available now in most areas, and is the same trivalent strains as last year. CMS is mandating universal screening and vaccination for inpatients, the measurement of which will go into effect on Jan 1, 2012 (CDC abstract)
As the influenza season is still active, the ACIP has issued updated guidelines on the use of anti-viral agents in influenza. In summary, any patient sick enough to be hospitalized with suspected or confirmed influenza should be treated with oseltamivir or zanamivir. Although the most benefit is received in those treated within the first 48 hours of illness, hospitalized patients may still derive benefit after 48 hours and should be considered for treatment. Full recommendations are available on line (MMWR)
The CDC has updated it's recommendations for use of rapid tests for influenza. Although they are easy to perform, with turnaround times of 15 minutes, most have limited sensitivity and therefore high false negative rates. This should be factored in when using these rapid tests, and patients with a high clinical suspicion for influenza should be treated as such, even if the rapid test is negative (CDC site).
Circulating influenza virus has been isolated in most states. Fortunately the vaccine well matches the circulating strains, so we can hope for a mild influenza season (CDC site)