News Scan for Apr 18, 2018

Lingering flu in Europe
Lassa in Nigeria, Liberia

WHO: Pockets of activity remain at end of flu season  

Flu is dropping to off-season levels in most of the Northern Hemisphere, except Eastern Europe, according to the latest global flu update from the World Health Organization (WHO).

As has been seen in the last several weeks, circulating influenza strains are almost evenly divided among types A and B, with 52.3% of laboratory specimens typed as influenza A and 47.7% as influenza B. Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 62.7% were influenza 2009 H1N1 and 37.3% were influenza H3N2. Of the characterized B viruses, 91% belonged to the Yamagata lineage and 9% to the Victoria lineage.

Flu declined in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. North Africa, Western Asia, and Central Asia all described waning flu, except for activity in Egypt, Qatar, and Kazakhstan.

The WHO said flu was still circulating widely throughout much of Europe, and parts of Eastern Europe, including Latvia and Russia, continued to report high flu activity.
Apr 16 WHO update


Lassa outbreaks continue in Nigeria, Liberia

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed five new cases of Lassa fever last week, including three deaths. This is the lowest weekly case count the NCDC has reported since the outbreak began in January.

From Jan 1 to Apr 15, the NCDC has confirmed 413 cases of Lassa fever, including 105 deaths. The case-fatality rate is 25.4%. No new healthcare workers have been infected in the last week, keeping the total number of healthcare workers who've contracted Lassa at 27.

The NCDC said there are only eight patients currently being treated in centers throughout the country, the lowest number since the outbreak began. Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria, and is transmitted mostly by rats. Human transmission can occur when a person comes into contact with infected bodily fluids.

Earlier this week, Liberia also reported 25 new suspected cases of Lassa fever, bringing the country's total since January to 67 suspected cases, including 19 deaths (case-fatality rate,  28.4%), according to a weekly WHO bulletin.
Apr 15 NCDC report
Apr 13 WHO bulletin

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