US flu activity shows slight increase
US flu activity rose slightly last week, with two regions of the country—the south central and central Midwest—at or above their regional baseline that measures clinic visits for flulike illness, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its weekly update.
The south central region includes Texas and surrounding states, and the central Midwestern region includes Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. One state—South Carolina—reported moderate flu activity, another measure of clinic visits. The only area that reported widespread flu last week was Guam, with Puerto Rico reporting regional flu and four states reporting local flu spread: Hawaii, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
Overall, the national marker for flu clinic visits rose slightly, from 1.4% to 1.6%, which is still below the US baseline of 2.1%. The percentage of respiratory tests that were positive for flu increased last week, from 1.2% to 1.6%. The CDC said the H3N2 virus is still the predominant strain.
The first pediatric flu death of the season was reported and involved an unsubtyped influenza A virus.
Nov 20 CDC FluView report
H5N1 hits Nigerian poultry farm
Nigeria's agriculture ministry yesterday reported another H5N1 avian flu outbreak, this time striking a commercial layer farm in Rivers state, located in the southern part of the country.
In a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), officials said the outbreak started on Nov 13 and was resolved 4 days later. Of 2,100 susceptible birds, the virus killed 310, and the remaining stocks were culled to control the spread of the disease.
The ministry said the source of the outbreak wasn't known but added that the farm had poor biosecurity measures in place.
Nigeria is among a handful of African countries that have reported a reemergence of H5N1 in poultry after a several-year hiatus. Nigeria has been especially hard hit, and reporting 101 outbreaks so far this year.
Nov 19 OIE report