US flu still low, but CDC sees rise in some regions
Flu levels are rising in some parts of the country, but nationally activity is still low, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its latest weekly flu update.
The CDC typically declares the start of flu season after key flu markers stay elevated over a number of weeks, according its weekly situation update. "Based on flu surveillance data, it's too early to say the 2018-19 flu season has started nationally," it said.
Five of CDC's 10 regions are above their regional baselines for percentage of clinic visits for flulike illness, but for the third week in a row, the national level remains at the 2.2% baseline. Two more states are reporting geographically widespread activity, bringing the total to three: California, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Regional or local spread was reported by 31 states.
Officials confirmed one more pediatric flu death, which involved influenza B and occurred in the week ending Dec 1. So far, six pediatric flu deaths have been reported this season. Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu remain below the epidemic threshold.
Saudi MOH records MERS case in Riyadh
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) today recorded a third straight case of MERS-CoV for epidemiologic week 50.
The patient is a 53-year-old man who is hospitalized with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). The man is from Riyadh, and he had camel contact, a known risk factor for MERS transmission.
This is the third case the MOH recorded in December in as many days, all involving middle-aged men. It raises the global total since the virus was first detected in humans in 2012 to 2,278, at least 806 of them fatal.
Dec 14 MOH update
Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea report new polio cases
Officials reported another wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) illness in Afghanistan and another circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) case in Papua New Guinea's ongoing outbreak, according to the latest weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Afghanistan's case involves a patient from Hilmand province's Nawzad district who had a paralysis onset of Nov 6. The country how has 21 WPV1 cases for the year.
The new cVDPV1 case was reported in Papua New Guinea's East Sepik province, and the patient's paralysis onset was Oct 18. In addition, two new positive environmental samples were confirmed, both in Port Moresby, the country's capital and largest city. Papua New Guinea has now reported 26 cases in an outbreak that has been under way since June.
Dec 14 GPEI report
Study: 47% drop in pneumonia deaths, 22% drop in cases in young kids
While the global incidence of pneumonia in children under the age of 5 has dropped 22% and related deaths 47% since 2000, the lung infection is still a leading cause of preventable illness and death in that age-group, according to findings published in The Lancet Global Health.
The study was conducted by estimating the incidence, number of hospital admissions, and in-hospital mortality due to all-cause clinical pneumonia in children younger than 5 years in developing countries at 5-year intervals during the Millennium Development Goal period, and sponsored by funding from the Gates Foundation.
The authors of the study found severalmarkers showing the decline of pediatric pneumonia since 2000, including a reduction in pneumonia deaths from 1.7 million in 2000 to 0.9 million (47%) in 2015. Cases have dropped from 1.7 million to 900,000, or 22%. Additionally the burden of clinical pneumonia attributable to HIV decreased by 45%.
But a handful of countries carry the main burden of pneumonia.India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, and China accounted for 54% of all pneumonia cases in children under 5 in 2015. In 2015, 49% of global pneumonia deaths occurred in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.
Dec 14 Lancet Glob Health study