This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.
IF ONLY A FEW influenza cases are reported in the next few days, the nation's 1987-1988 flu season may go into the records as notable but not notorious.
As a rule of thumb, say officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, if there haven't been unusual numbers of influenza cases reported from all over the nation by this time, it is cause for some optimism.
But every season is unique, and the possibility of major outbreaks still exists. "There have been years where things have been puttering along, and then late in the season it picks up," says the CDC's Nancy Arden, MN, who is a nurse.
Even during a slow season, increased awareness and improved diagnosis have led to more states reporting isolates of influenza than in the past, says Alan Kendal, PhD, of the CDC's Influenza Branch. Many hospital laboratories are now able to identify influenza
Ritt A. Spring's Here; Can End of Present Influenza Season in United States Be Far Behind?. JAMA. 1988;259(15):2199–2200. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720150005004