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Tracking nationwide flu outbreaks

April 1, 2013

WASHINGTON — While the symptoms of the flu are less noticeable these days, the flu season is never really over for Lynnette Brammer, the "architect of influenza surveillance in the U.S.," according to The Washington Post.

Every week, Brammer analyzes influenza data sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she is an epidemiologist responsible for the development, ongoing maintenance and enhancement of the domestic influenza surveillance system, the article stated.

"This is a lot of information that comes from a lot of different people — physicians, people at state health departments and state labs and in hospitals and vital statistics offices," Brammer said.

"Sometimes you step back and look at it and think it’s pretty amazing that this system keeps running week after week, and it always does," Brammer added.

The seasonal process for discovering flu outbreaks and preparing a vaccine has changed dramatically since Brammer joined the CDC influenza group; what used to take from one to two weeks to grow viruses to determine if they were flu, and if so, what type, now molecular diagnostic testing can be done in hours, the article noted.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.