FLU NEWS SCAN: Low Northern Hemisphere flu activity, H5N1 in Bhutan

Oct 26, 2012

Northern Hemisphere flu markers show little increase
The US flu season showed little sign of gaining steam last week, with many of the signals staying below their baselines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. One marker that rose was the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu, up from 3.9% the previous week to 6.2%. All 10 of the CDC's regions were below baseline levels for doctor's visits for flulike illness, and the percentage of deaths from pneumonia and flu dropped to 5.7%, putting it below the epidemic threshold. No pediatric flu deaths or variant swine influenza infections were reported. Three states—Iowa, Texas, and Wyoming—reported local geographic flu spread, two more than reported in the CDC's last update.
Oct 26 CDC flu update
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today that many Northern Hemisphere countries are reporting increasing numbers of flu detections, though none have crossed their seasonal thresholds. Some tropical countries are reporting active flu transmission, including Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where influenza B is the most commonly detected virus, the WHO said. Other countries include Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Thailand, where the 2009 H1N1 virus is slightly more common than influenza B.
Oct 26 WHO global flu update
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today that flu transmission in Europe was still at low levels last week, based on information from 25 countries that reported. Seven reported sporadic activity.
Oct 26 ECDC flu update

H5N1 strikes backyard flocks in Bhutan
Twenty-four backyard poultry in Bhutan have died from H5N1 avian flu, according to a report yesterday filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak affected free-ranging chickens in Rinchending village in Chukha district, which borders the northeastern part of India. Twenty-nine additional birds were culled to limit spread of the disease in an area that houses 496 poultry. The outbreak began Oct 2, but poultry deaths were at first not reported to local veterinary authorities, the report said.
Oct 25 OIE report

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