DOH collects information on ILI weekly from hospital emergency departments and long term care facilities, and also collects absenteeism information from schools. In addition, the Department gets weekly reports from select hospitals on the number of patients tested for respiratory syncytial virus – a respiratory infection with symptoms similar to flu -- and the number who test positive. Data on positive RSV samples can help show whether another respiratory illness is influencing rates of ILI.
NOTE** - While influenza data collection and surveillance is conducted year round, the report is only published from October to May. This publicly available report containing information on influenza and other viral respiratory disease is published on Wednesday of each week from MMWR week 40 (October) to MMWR week 20 (May). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) dates are used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to standardize how weekly data are reported to them. An MMWR week begins on a Sunday and ends the following Saturday. During the summer months, weekly reports do not get disseminated to our public health partners or posted publicly to the NJDOH website, but messages will be sent if any unusual activity is detected.
As the Communicable Disease Service has prioritized the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not been able to perform necessary data reviews and error checks. Therefore, rather than risking publication of poetntially flawed data, publication of weekly reports was suspended in March 2020.