Influenza Heads South for Summer
While the ending of the 2022-2023 flu season in the United States is good news for many, it also indicates that ever-evolving influenza viruses are heading to the Southern Hemisphere.
On May 3, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Influenza Update N° 444, which confirmed influenza detections decreased further in the Northern Hemisphere, while some countries in the South reported increased detections in recent weeks.
The WHO confirmed in the tropical countries of South America, influenza activity increased during this reporting period due to increased detections of A(H1N1)pdm09 in Peru, and slight increases were reported in a few other countries.
And in the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity remained low.
However, influenza activity increased slightly in Australia and Chile, and pneumonia surveillance in South Africa. Influenza A viruses were predominant, and among the subtyped viruses, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 predominated in these countries.
Furthermore, the National Influenza Centres and other laboratories from 117 countries, areas, or territories tested more than 355,524 specimens. About 27,000 testings were positive for influenza viruses, of which 75.74% were typed as influenza A.
Back in the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced seasonal influenza activity remains low nationally.
The CDC's Key Updates for Week #17 include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Four influenza-associated pediatric deaths that occurred during the 2022-2023 season were reported this week, for a total of 149 pediatric flu deaths reported so far this season.
- Most influenza viruses tested are in the same genetic subclade and antigenically similar to those included in this season's flu shots.
- The CDC recommends that everyone ages six months and older get an annual flu vaccine as long as flu activity continues.
In the U.S., various types of flu shots remain available at clinics and community pharmacies.