Flu on the rise in some Southern Hemisphere regions, notably Australia
In a global flu update that covers the last half of May, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week that overall activity has declined since a March peak, but levels are rising in some temperate Southern Hemisphere countries, including Australia.
Flu infections rose sharply in parts of Australia, with levels in some regions above prepandemic levels, mainly due to the H3N2 strain. South Africa's flu activity increased, with all three strains detected, but mainly 2009 H1N1.
In South America's temperate countries, flu activity rose in Chile and Uruguay, with H3N2 most frequently detected.
In other parts of the world, H3N2 activity rose in China's southern provinces. In the Middle East, Qatar reported a similar rise.
Globally, of respiratory samples that tested positive during the last half of May, 98% were influenza A, and, of subtyped influenza A samples, 95.6% were H3N2. The WHO included its usual caveat that flu activity and surveillance have likely been affected by pandemic-related factors, and they urged countries to step up their preparedness for possible cocirculation of flu and SARS-CoV-2.
Jun 13 WHO global flu update
Avian flu strikes Utah petting zoo, more US wild birds
In the latest US highly pathogenic avian flu developments, federal officials reported two more outbreaks in poultry, including at a petting zoo in Utah, along with 101 more H5N1 detections in wild birds.
In an update on findings in poultry, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said the petting zoo outbreak in poultry occurred in Salt Lake County and affected 70 birds. Elsewhere, officials reported another outbreak involving backyard birds in Washington, which struck a location in Yakima County housing 30 poultry.
Though the pace of poultry outbreaks has slowed, a small but steady stream continue to be reported. So far, the outbreaks have led to the loss of more than 40 million birds across 36 states.
In related developments, the APHIS reported 101 more H5N1 detections in wild birds, raising the total to 1,558. The latest ones mainly involved waterfowl and raptors found dead in Midwestern states. However, there were also several in western states, such as Washington and Alaska, plus some in eastern states, including Vermont and New Jersey.
USDA APHIS poultry updates
USDA APHIS wild bird updates
In global developments, Germany reported a new H5N1 event in poultry, according to a notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). The outbreak began on Jun 2 at a commercial farm in Lower Saxony state in the northwest, killing 10 of 14,850 birds.
Jun 14 WOAH report on H5N1 in German poultry