Although COVID-19 and monkeypox cases remain steady, experts are bracing for a bad flu season after a national surge last month saw the highest number of cases in 13 years.
Indiana’s last Influenza update, which covered the week ending on Nov. 26, showed high levels of Influenza. The percentage positivity rate of Influenza tests is 10%.
There have been 11 confirmed deaths in Indiana so far. Three of those deaths were in those between 50 and 64, and eight deaths were in those 65 and older.
The most prominent strains this season are H1N1 and H3N2.
Individuals can search for a place to receive a flu vaccine here.
Monroe County reported 54 COVID-19 cases and zero deaths in the past week. Indiana reported 4,925 cases this week and two deaths.
Over the summer, IU removed its COVID-19 dashboard. However, students can still get free PCR tests through drop-off testing and up to four free antigen tests per month from vending machines in the Indiana Memorial Union and the McNutt center building.
Anyone older than six months can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination appointments can be made at ourshot.in.gov.
Updated vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are now available. The vaccine targets the BA.4 and BA.5 coronavirus variants, which have evaded prior versions of the vaccine more easily. These variants currently make up all new coronavirus cases in the U.S.
A new study from Pfizer suggests neutralizing antibodies increased 13.2-fold in those over 55 after receiving the bivalent vaccine. For adults ages 18 through 55, the increase was 9.5-fold.
Individuals can now receive the Pfizer vaccine if they are 5 and older, and the Moderna vaccine if they are 6 and older. To receive the shot, individuals must have completed the entire COVID-19 vaccine series and wait at least 2 months after the last booster and 3 months after testing positive for COVID-19.
Find the clinics nearby offering the new vaccine here.
Mpox (also known as monkeypox)
There have been 270 cases of mpox reported in Indiana since the first case in June. There have been four new cases since the last update on the Indiana mpox dashboard.
There have been 19 confirmed monkeypox deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Nov. 28, the World Health Organization recommended the term monkeypox be phased out within a year due to instances of racist and stigmatizing language. The preferred term for the disease is now mpox, although monkeypox will still be used to prevent confusion.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced they will not renew mpox as a public health emergency for 2023.
The CDC released a report on Nov. 4 that found 82% of hospitalized patients with monkeypox also had an HIV infection. Almost all patients were male, at 95%, and 68% of patients were Black.
The main symptom of monkeypox is a rash that resembles pimples or blisters. Other symptoms of monkeypox include fever, cough and nasal congestion. Symptoms of severe manifestations of monkeypox are necrotic lesions that may require amputation, bowel lesions causing obstruction and lesions that affect essential organs, like the heart, eyes, lungs and brain.
Positive Link at IU Health is offering monkeypox vaccines for high-risk individuals at its weekly vaccine clinic on Tuesdays. Positive Link also offers resources for those at risk for HIV infection such as pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis medications. The Monroe County Health Department offers free and confidential referrals as well as sterile needles and syringes for harm reduction.