Leaving a Mobile Footprint: Utilizing Data to Combat the 2017 - 2018 Influenza Season


The 2017 - 2018 influenza season was classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "high severity"™ across all age groups. Furthermore, CDC noted that this was the first year to be categorized as such, with the highest peak percentage of influenza-like-illnesses (ILI), since 2009. In Harris County alone, there were 2,665 positive flu tests reported in comparison to the previous season at 1,395 positive tests. In response to the severity of this year's flu season, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) collaborated across the department to deploy five pop up influenza vaccination events utilizing our Mobile Fleets open to the general public. HCPH epidemiologists are able to collect influenza data from multiple systems and compile it into useful reports/tools. These data include latitudinal and longitudinal data, allowing us to create highly localized maps of where influenza has had impacted communities the hardest. This granular data allowed HCPH to target 5 areas with our Mobile Fleet that had a) high levels of influenza and b) generally limited healthcare/public health infrastructure. Our Mobile Fleet is made up of 8 different Recreational Vehicles that have been retrofitted to offer various public health services including: immunizations, medical visits, dental visits, pet adoptions, mosquito and vector control education, and a fresh food market. The Fleet allows HCPH to offer a full menu of public health services anywhere within the County. While our efforts for this abstract were focused on controlling the influenza outbreak, we leveraged the opportunity to engage with the public on multiple issues such as environmental, veterinary, mosquito control, dental health, and accessible healthy food options.

Objective: During this session, participants will be able to understand how Harris County Public Health utilized data to make informed decisions on how to combat the influenza season.

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January, 2019

June 18, 2019

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