WHO snapshot shows Northern Hemisphere flu rise
According to the latest update on global flu from the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza rates in the northern hemisphere have continued to rise, with influenza A dominating the season. The update covers the 2 weeks from Nov 26 through Dec 9.
Flu was on the rise in Europe, Canada, and Mexico, the WHO said. In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity returned to inter-seasonal levels, and overall flu activity remained low.
Of all flu specimens tested worldwide, 94.8% were typed as influenza A, and 84.1% of those were subtyped as influenza A 2009 H1N1. H3N2 represented 15.9% of influenza A samples.
No influenza activity was recorded in North Africa, while countries in western and eastern Asia reported flu levels at seasonal thresholds.
Dec 24 WHO update
India, Bulgaria, Vietnam report more avian flu events
Three countries have reported new avian flu outbreaks, with India reporting an H5N1 outbreak in peacocks at a zoo and Bulgaria and Vietnam reporting H5 outbreaks involving different strains in poultry.
In India, tests on dead peacocks from a zoo in Patna, located in Bihar state in the country's northeast, were positive for H5N1, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported yesterday. The development temporarily shuttered the zoo. A state health official told PTI that it's not clear how the birds contracted the virus, and the report said the virus was recently implicated in a poultry outbreak in a district about 124 miles from the zoo.
Elsewhere, Bulgaria reported two more highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreaks, part of ongoing sporadic activity there, according to a Dec 23 notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The latest detections involved backyard poultry in Jambol province in the south-central part of the country and Vidin province in the far northwest. The outbreaks started Nov 22 and Dec 17, and the virus killed 72 of 453 susceptible birds.
In a separate OIE report, Vietnam on Dec 22 announced an outbreak involving the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain in village birds in Quang Ninh province in the northern part of the country. The event began on Dec 10 and killed 750 of 1,173 susceptible birds.
Poultry outbreaks involving H5N6 have been reported in a handful of Asian countries, and some human illnesses have been reported in China. Vietnam reported its last H5N6 outbreak in March of this year.
Dec 25 PTI story
Dec 23 OIE report on H5N8 in Bulgaria
Dec 22 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam