Flu shows slight increases in US and its neighbors
Flu activity in the United States remained at low levels last week, though some markers showed slight increases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.
The percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu rose from 4.5% to 4.9% over the past week, and the percentage of clinic visits for flu-like illness crept up from 1.2% to 1.4%. Both indicators remain below their baselines.
Of specimens there were tested, 93% were influenza A, and of the influenza A viruses that were subtyped, 2009 H1N1 isolates outnumbered H3N2. Antiviral resistance tests last week detected two isolates with resistance to oseltamivir; both were 2009 H1N1 viruses.
The CDC received two reports of pediatric flu deaths, both of which occurred during the 2012-13 season, lifting the past season's total to 169.
Two states, Alaska and Alabama, reported regional activity, while four other southern states (Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) and Puerto Rico reported local activity.
Elsewhere in North America, flu activity also increased slightly in Canada, with 10 regions reporting sporadic activity, according to an update today from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). PHAC said the number of positive tests for flu rose for the second week in a row and that influenza A has been predominant, with 2009 H1N1 more common than H3N2. In Mexico, flu indicators are up slightly, according to a Nov 6 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
In Europe, flu activity remained low, with all 25 reporting countries reporting stable or decreasing trends, according to an update today from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Nov 8 CDC weekly flu update
Nov 8 PHAC FluWatch report
Nov 6 PAHO flu update
Nov 8 ECDC flu update
Cambodian boy hospitalized with H5N1 infection
Health officials in Cambodia have detected an H5N1 infection in a 10-year-old boy from Kampot province, the country's 24th case so far this year, Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported today.
News of the case came in a joint statement from Cambodia's health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the report. The boy tested positive for the virus yesterday after he was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh. He is in critical condition and is receiving oseltamivir (Tamiflu).
An investigation into the source of his infection found that a month before he got sick, about 30 chickens died in the boy's village, and he had helped carry some of the birds for his brother, who prepared a meal from them.
Nov 8 Xinhua story