South Africa, Sri Lanka cited as flu hot spots by WHO
South Africa and Sri Lanka were about the only exceptions to a global pattern of low influenza activity revealed by surveillance as of mid-June, according to a recent flu update from the World Health Organization (WHO).
South Africa reported high flu activity, with the H3N2 and 2009 H1N1 viruses both circulating, the WHO said. Activity was increasing but still low in Australia and New Zealand, while temperate regions of South America reported expected levels of flu circulation for this time of year.
In tropical Asia, increasing flu activity was reported in Hong Kong, Singapore, southern China, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, with type A viruses predominant. But of those, Sri Lanka was the only country described as having high activity, with 2009 H1N1 predominant.
Labs in the WHO's flu surveillance network reported identifying 1,620 flu cases among 23,577 samples tested in the first 2 weeks of June. Of those, 69% were type A and 31% were type B; 77.2% of the type A viruses were H3N2 and 22.8% were 2009 H1N1.
Jun 29 WHO update summary
Full WHO update
Study: Oseltamivir protects ferrets from influenza eye challenge
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) protected ferrets that were infected with influenza viruses via the eye from death, reduced clinical signs and symptoms, and decreased virus transmissibility, according to a new study in Virology. No antiviral drug is currently licensed for treating ocular influenza.
Scientists with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sprayed aerosolized influenza H5N1, H7N9, H7N3, and 2009 H1N1 on the surface of ferrets' eyes, and followed with oseltamivir at regular intervals for some animals and no treatment for control animals.
Of those four strains, H5N1 has proved fatal to ferrets infected via the ocular route in previous experiments. But the three animals treated with oseltamivir survived the H5N1 challenge, while control animals did not.
The team also found that clinical signs and symptoms, viral shedding, and disease transmission were all reduced for all the strains of flu in animals given oseltamivir.
The authors conclude, "These findings provide critical experimental evidence supporting the use of neuraminidase inhibitors during outbreaks of influenza virus resulting in ocular disease or following ocular exposure."
Jul 3 Virology study