Caribbean chikungunya outbreak tops 63,000 cases
The Caribbean chikungunya outbreak grew by 6,303 cases in the past week to reach 63,489 suspected, probable, or confirmed cases, according to an update today from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The count is up from 57,186 cases a week ago.
Martinique continues to report the largest numbers by far, with 26,670 suspected (up from 24,180) and 1,515 confirmed or probable cases, the ECDC said. Cases on Guadeloupe continued to soar over the past couple of weeks; the island now has 18,000 suspected (up from 13,000) and 1,328 confirmed or probable cases.
Suspected and confirmed cases in the Dominican Republic held steady at 8,017 and 17, respectively. The French side of St. Martin reported 3,280 suspected and 793 confirmed or probable cases.
Also reporting chikungunya are Dominica, with 1,578 suspected and 121 confirmed cases; St. Barthelemy, 510 suspected and 135 confirmed or probable cases; Haiti, 632 confirmed cases; the Dutch side of St. Martin, 325 suspected and 301 confirmed cases; French Guiana, 176 confirmed or probable cases; Anguilla, 33 confirmed cases; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 24 suspected and 3 confirmed cases; British Virgin Islands, 20 confirmed cases; St. Lucia, 5 confirmed cases; Antigua and Barbuda, 4 cases; and Aruba and St. Kitts and Nevis with 1 confirmed case each.
Haiti's count rose from only 14 confirmed cases last week to 632.
Also this week, Florida reported its fourth chikungunya case, in a man who had traveled to the Caribbean, according to a May 21 press release from Palm Beach County's health department. The man is recovering, the agency said. Media reports said he is 66. The first US cases were reported in Florida 1 week ago.
The chikungunya outbreak is the first known in the Americas and began in December on the French side of St. Martin. Seven deaths have been reported.
May 23 ECDC update
Flu season shows more signs of drop-off
Measures of US flu activity continued to tail off last week, though infections are still occurring in some parts of the country, especially from influenza B, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.
For the nation as a whole, the percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu dropped from 10.1% to 8.7% last week. Only one of the CDC's regions—in the northeast—was over its area-specific level.
The percentage of clinic visits for flu fell from 1.3% to 1.1%, the CDC said, and only one state—Texas—reported low-intensity flulike activity, another measure of clinic visits. The other states reported only minimal activity. Meanwhile, New York and Maryland were the only states reporting widespread geographic spread of flu.
Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu decreased from 6.2% to 5.8% last week, well below the seasonal baseline. One pediatric flu death was reported, edging the season's total to 95.
Influenza B continued as the dominant strain, responsible for a late-season flu rise, and rose to 59% of positive tests last week.
May 23 CDC FluView report
Elsewhere, flu in Europe continued to decline, with low intensity activity noted by 25 reporting countries, the ECDC said today.
The European flu season, which saw nearly equal levels of the 2009 H1N1 and H3N2 strains, is coming to an end, the agency noted. Overall, the region saw low flu activity this season, with levels reaching the high-intensity mark in only three countries, the ECDC said, adding that today's report is the last weekly overview for the season.
May 23 ECDC weekly flu update
H7N9 case reported in Shandong province
China reported one H7N9 influenza case today, in a 61-year-old man from Shandong province, according to a Xinhua report flagged by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.
According to a machine translation of the report from China's state news agency, the patient is a retiree who got sick on May 6 and was hospitalized on May 11. His H7N9 infection was confirmed on May 21. His case appears to be only the fourth to be detected in Shandong province, located north of the main outbreak areas.
The man's illness lifts the overall outbreak total to 446, of which 310 infections occurred in the second wave that started last October. The unofficial death total stands at 156.
May 23 FluTrackers thread
FluTrackers human H7N9 case list