Shutdown Could Have Effect on Flu Season

CDC not compiling regional data about flu during shutdown

Health officials are keeping a close eye on the effects the government shutdown could have on flu season.

Flu season isn't in full swing in Illinois yet, but ever since the shutdown, every bit of flu data collected in any state has gathered dust at the Centers for Disease Control, the agency responsible for monitoring.

"Not having the data and having the delay in getting the data does not help central data authorities get advice to all the regional public health authorities," Pediatric infectious disease specialist Andrew Bonwit says.

Bonwit says that every day that goes by, is less information health professionals receive about how to treat the disease.

"Just knowing what is happening is important. It helps people that do the research and the development of vaccines," Bonwit said.

Experts say flu seasons are unpredictable, so the CDC data is crucial when encouraging people to get shots.

"It does make it a little harder to enforce the message to people at large about the importance of things like influenza vaccinations are," Bonwit said.

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