Four more flu-related children's deaths reported as cases ebb
Influenza activity around the United States continued its retreat toward summertime levels last week, but four more flu-related children's deaths were reported, according to today's weekly update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For the first time in months, no states reported high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity, the CDC said. For the previous 2 weeks, New Jersey was the only state in that category. But New Jersey, Minnesota, and Puerto Rico still reported moderate ILI activity, as had Arkansas, Arizona, and Puerto Rico a week earlier.
Reports from sentinel clinics showed that 1.8% of patient visits last week were for ILI, down from 2.0% a week earlier and below the national baseline of 2.1%. Three of 10 CDC regions were at or above their own baselines for this marker.
In addition, the count of states with geographically widespread flu cases dropped to 7 plus Puerto Rico, from 13 and Puerto Rico the previous week.
The four flu-related deaths in children equaled the toll the previous week and raised the season's total to 64. Two of the deaths were due to influenza A/H1N1 viruses, one to a type B virus, and one to a type A virus that was not subtyped.
As for overall mortality, 6.8% of deaths reported in the 122 Cities Morality Reporting system were attributed to pneumonia and flu last week. That was up a hair from 6.7% a week earlier but below the week's designated epidemic threshold of 6.9%.
The share of respiratory samples testing positive for flu ebbed again last week, at 11.2% of 12,818 specimens, versus 12.5% of 14,806 the previous week. And the dominance of type B over type A viruses continued to increase, reaching 61.9%, up from 52.6% a week earlier.
The cumulative incidence of flu-related hospitalizations reached 30.6 per 100,000 population, compared with 29.8 the week before.
May 6 CDC FluView update
Taiwan reports H5N8 and H5N2 outbreaks
In separate reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday, Taiwan noted two outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in Tainan and Kaohsiung City and one outbreak of H5N2 in Tainan.
The H5N8 outbreak in Tainan began Apr 19 on a farm in Guiren District. Of 1,936 geese on the farm, 104 died, and 1,832 birds were culled to prevent the spread of disease. Elsewhere in Taiwan, officials reported an H5N8 outbreak in a slaughterhouse in Kaohsiung City's Daliao District after observing suspicious postmortem signs in 5 chickens. The remaining 1,080 chickens at the slaughterhouse were destroyed.
An outbreak of high-path H5N2 began on Apr 29 and involved a farm in Tainan's Guanmiao District. Of the 8,470 chickens, 3,583 died, and the remainder of the flock was destroyed. As in the H5N8 outbreak in Tainan, abnormal mortality on the farm prompted avian flu testing.