US flu visits finally fall below national baseline
Outpatient visits for flulike illness fell below the US national baseline of 2.2% last week, the first time since late November, but nine new flu-related deaths in kids were reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its latest weekly update.
Other flu markers declined as well, with only 7 states reporting widespread activity, down from 11 the previous week, and the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu decreasing to 12.8%, compared with 15.4% the week before. Except for California, all of the states still reporting widespread flu are in the northeast: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
Continuing the expected late-season pattern, influenza B was the dominant strain last week, accounting for nearly 66% of positive flu tests at clinical labs.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag other flu indicators, continued to rise, reaching a cumulative rate of 101.6 lab-confirmed cases per 100,000 population. In patients 65 and older it reached 437.0 per 100,000 population, up from 429.4 the week before. Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu fell to 7%, which is below the epidemic threshold of 7.3%.
The 9 pediatric deaths bring the season's total to 151—above the 148 recorded in the fairly severe 2014-15 season. Five were linked to influenza B, 2 to H3N2, and 2 to unsubtyped influenza A viruses. All of the new deaths occurred in February or March.
In an accompanying situation update, the CDC said it expects flu activity to continue for several more weeks, and it urged prompt antiviral treatment for those with severe infections and people at greater risk for flu complications.
Apr 13 CDC FluView
Apr 13 CDC flu situation update
Brazil says 10 million in 3 states need vaccination against yellow fever
Yellow fever vaccination coverage rates in the three hardest-hit Brazilian states hover below or around 50%—with the goal being 95%—which means 10 million more people need to be immunized in these states, the Brazilian Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday in an update.
Coverage in the current campaign is 40.9% in Rio de Janeiro state, 52.4% in Sao Paulo state, and 55% in Bahia, the MOH said. The goal is to immunize 23.8 million people in the three states. The data are from 77 cities that were part of the original campaign, which is using a fractional-dosage strategy, plus another 52 municipalities in Sao Paulo that are part of an expanded campaign, which now aims to reach the entire Brazilian population.
Officials plan to vaccinate the entire country by April of next year. "The measure is preventive and aims to anticipate protection against disease for the entire population in case of an increase in the area of circulation of the virus," according to a Google Translate version of the update.
Brazil has confirmed 1,127 yellow fever cases and 331 deaths from Jul 1, 2017, through Apr 10, 2018, the MOH said.
Apr 12 Brazilian MOH update