FLU NEWS SCAN: Global flu update, H5N1 in Egypt, lower Hong Kong flu alert

Dec 8, 2010

Flu activity picks up in some Northern Hemisphere sites
Seasonal flu levels are generally low throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere with influenza A (H3N2) predominating, except for a few areas, the WHO said on Dec 3 in its latest global surveillance report. Areas of H3N2 predominance include parts of the United States and Mongolia, where rates of influenza A H3N2 detections have pushed influenza-like illnesses above the seasonal threshold. Bulgaria and the Russian Federation are reporting medium intensity respiratory disease activity, but it's not known how much is due to flu. Southern Hemisphere countries, now entering their summer months, are reporting little flu activity. In tropical areas, several Southeast Asian countries are reporting low to moderate H3N2 activity. A few countries are reporting surges in 2009 pandemic H1N1 infections, including Sri Lanka, Cameroon, and Ethiopia. The WHO said it hasn't received any reports of unusual clinical severity among the Sri Lankan cases. One additional report of an oseltamivir-resistant 2009 H1N1 virus carrying the H275Y mutation was reported, raising the total to 314, the WHO said in an accompanying report.
Dec 3 WHO flu surveillance report

WHO confirms Egyptian H5N1 death
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed Egypt's most recent H5N1 avian influenza fatality, that of a 30-year-old woman. The woman, who was from Gharbia governorate, is listed by the WHO as Egypt's 113th case and 37th death. She got sick on Nov 28 and was hospitalized on Dec 1, where she was treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu). She died the next day. An investigation into the source of the woman's infection found that she had been exposed to sick and dead poultry. Her case raises the global H5N1 case count to 509, which includes 303 fatalities.
Dec 8 WHO statement

Hong Kong lowers flu alert level
Hong Kong's government today stepped down its influenza response level from "serious" to "alert." It had been raised to "serious" Nov 17, when a 59-year-old woman was confirmed to have been infected with H5N1 avian flu, Hong Kong's first such case in 7 years. A spokesperson from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the agency had increased surveillance and epidemiologic investigations over the past several weeks. The patient is still hospitalized in stable condition. Close contacts of the patient have been traced and placed under quarantine, and no further cases have been discovered. The spokesperson said, "The CHP will continue close monitoring of the global situation on avian influenza. So far, there is no evidence of efficient human-to-human transmission." Hong Kong's Hospital Authority said it is following the government's lead and will also lower its alert level.
Dec 8 Hong Kong government press release
Dec 8 Hospital Authority press release

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