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With the government shutdown, who will track this year’s flu?

A look at the national flu map as

A look at the national flu map as of Oct. 7, 2013. (Credit: Google.org)

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track the progress of the influenza virus throughout the United States.

However, like many other federal agencies, the CDC is closed due to the government shutdown. That means that, until Washington comes to a deal, the CDC's official flu map/tracking won't be updated.

A traditional tool in gauging the severity of flu strains and effectiveness of vaccines from year to year, the latest FluView update includes data up to Sept. 21, while the influenza activity map was last updated in May.


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If not for the CDC, where can we get information on this year’s seasonal flu trends?

While the FluView is wide-ranging and includes a much fuller picture of flu activity in the United States, there are other resources for those looking for their data fix.

Google.org’s yearly flu trends still display flu activity throughout the country based on Google search data.

FluNearYou, another flu tracking outlet, creates separate flu maps based on a combination of user contributed-flu activity, CDC reported flu activity (which is notably blank) and Google flu trends.

With the flu season just beginning, FluNearYou reports that only 2 percent of its users across the country were experiencing flu-like symptoms.

For those who haven't gotten a vaccine, the good news is that they are still available. According to the CDC’s website, as of the week of Sept. 20, 73 million doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine have been distributed, listing a projected 135 to 139 million total doses to be produced by manufacturers this year.

Not sure if you need to or should get a flu vaccine? Check with your doctor for more information.

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