Cuba, Southeast Asia among active spots for flu

Oct 7, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Though influenza activity is low in most nations, some are seeing active transmission, including Cuba, Bolivia, Cameroon, and parts of Southeast Asia, the World Health Organization said today in an update.

Cuba and El Salvador have reported increasing circulation of influenza A (H3N2), a strain that peaked in Honduras in the middle of August.

In tropical areas of South America, most countries are reporting little flu transmission, except for Bolivia, which recently cited in increase in 2009 H1N1 activity, which followed an earlier wave of H3N2 infections, mainly in La Paz. South America's temperate regions are reporting decreases in flu activity, returning to baseline levels.

In Africa, flu activity is continuing in Cameroon, with most of it influenza B, though 2009 H1N1 isolates have increased in recent weeks, the WHO reported.

Tropical countries in Asia that are seeing moderate flu activity, such as Singapore and Thailand, are primarily finding the H3N2 strain. Laos reported a marked increase in flu activity in early September, predominantly H3N2, while Vietnam and Cambodia are experiencing sustained transmission of the 2009 H1N1 virus.

Flu activity in Australia, which peaked in early August, is decreasing in most states except for the Northern Territory. Most states and territories are seeing mostly 2009 H1N1, with co-circulation of influenza B.

In temperate Northern Hemisphere areas, flu activity is low or undetectable, according to the WHO.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in an update today for the week ending Oct 1, said the nation's markers for flu activity are below their baselines. Respiratory specimens that have recently tested positive for influenza show that influenza B and H3N2 strains are circulating, with lower numbers of 2009 H1N1.

No pediatric flu deaths were reported, keeping the 2010-11 season total at 116.

Canada's Public Health Agency said in its most recent report that flu activity continues at low interseasonal levels, with only two regions of Quebec and one region of Alberta reporting sporadic activity.

See also:

Oct 7 WHO global flu update

Oct 7 CDC weekly flu update

Sep 16 Public Health Agency of Canada Flu Watch report

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