About That Stafford County, VA Outbreak…

Last week, upon reading a story about a school in Stafford County, VA, that had an outbreak (~1,000 out of 2,100 students) of “flu-like/gastrointestinal symptoms”, I polled the tweeple about the cause of this massive outbreak:

While I didn’t pre-register my predictions BECAUSE IT’S A FUCKING TWITTER POLL, NOT A DRUG DESIGN STUDY YOU DORK, I ranked my own answers as:
1-norovirus (when you see a large flare up in an institutional setting, it’s often norovirus); this was my poll answer
2-influenza (sort of similar to the above reasoning, but usually there’s higher background illness in the community when these flu outbreaks occur)
3-something else

COVID actually was a very, very distant fourth choice. Given the availability of home testing, even if most families didn’t want to test, I figured that enough would have, and the public health department could have followed this up. It’s hard to hide a localized COVID outbreak of 1,000 students when people can test for it at home.

So what was the answer? (drum roll, please…)

Influenza. I imagine, however, that if all of the ill students were tested, a few might have COVID (or COVID and influenza), but it does seem like the majority of illness is due to influenza.

If you chose influenza, you get a free Mad Biologist blog subscription (think about it…)!

In a more serious vein, influenza, along with RSV, is surging right now nationally based on waste water data. Worse, few, if any, of the individual communities monitored appear to have declining prevalences: that is, they’re either getting slammed or haven’t been hit yet (yet being the operative word). And pediatric wards are still in trouble in many parts of the U.S.

So, for the love of Gritty, get your flu shot (and your COVID booster if you’re eligible too).

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1 Response to About That Stafford County, VA Outbreak…

  1. edivimo says:

    Is so disheartening all that bad news about increase in preventable diseases because of problems in public health.
    In my country (Costa Rica) we were doing pretty well in COVID vaccinations and public health unttil the government changed on May and our Trump-alike president decided to pick a fight against several public health officials because of “freedom” and also started to give an audience to anti-vaxxers.
    Now the only ones not properly covered in public health are the children.

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