After peaking in late 2022, global flu activity continues to decline, though subtype proportions are shifting, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week in its latest update, which covers roughly the middle 2 weeks of February.
Though the H3N2 strain was dominant earlier in the season, a slightly larger proportion of viruses in the latest reporting period were the 2009 H1N1 virus. Influenza B now makes up 41% of samples, and all characterized influenza B viruses belonged to the Victoria lineage. Influenza B levels typically rise in the latter part of the Northern Hemisphere flu season.
In Europe, flu activity was still above the epidemic threshold and reported as stable. Some Eastern European countries reported highly intense activity.
In East Asia, flu activity increased sharply in northern and southern China, with the H1N1 strain most common. Media reports from China, translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, said Chinese officials are urging people to avoid hoarding oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and to not use the drug without a doctor's prescription.
In South Asia, flu levels declined or held steady, though Sri Lanka and Bhutan reported increases. Recent media reports from India say the country is experiencing a surge in H3N2 activity.