Indian Health Service launches influenza surveillance website

The Indian Health Service has launched an influenza surveillance and information sharing website at www.ihs.gov/flu. The site contains information for health professionals on influenza activity in the United States, as well as information on IHS influenza surveillance activities, reports, and educational resources specific to American Indian and Alaska Native people. The site also contains links to influenza information for patients and the general public.

“This site provides relevant, up-to-date information for our health professionals,” said IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux. “This includes information such as recommendations on who should get vaccinated and guidelines for clinical procedures such as infection control. We hope this site will help prevent the spread of influenza and reduce mortality rates from seasonal influenza in American Indian and Alaska Native communities across the nation.”

American Indians and Alaska Natives have long experienced a variety of health disparities, including an influenza/pneumonia mortality rate that is nearly twice that of the general U.S. population.

The website is aimed at helping to reduce that disparity by providing useful information on influenza prevention and treatment. This includes weekly influenza surveillance updates; vaccination resources, contacts, and supplies; prevention guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention; and the latest information on resources specific to American Indian and Alaska Native people and the IHS.

Free downloadable brochures, fact sheets, articles, and posters are available for personal and educational use. The site also provides links to podcasts, videos, and public service announcements on seasonal influenza information.

The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 1.9 million of the nation’s estimated 3.3 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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