Flu Season Approaching From the South

Influenza A reported in 71% of cases in Southern Hemisphere with subtype 2009 H1N1 reported 72% of cases

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The 2017-2018 influenza season in the United States was one of the most severe in recent history.

High rates of influenza occurred simultaneously across the country, which contrasted with previous years.

Moreover, the 2017-2018 flu season significantly impacted children, with 174 influenza-related fatalities.

While it's just the start of the summer season in the USA, it is not too early to research preventive options, such as flu shots and antivirals.

According to the June 25, 2018 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza levels are increasing in the Southern Hemisphere, fast approaching North America.

This WHO report says:

  • In Bolivia, the 2009 H1N1 and influenza B cases are increasing and 2009 H1N1 illnesses increasing in Peru.
  • In Chile and Paraguay, severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI) levels continued to increase with few influenza detections but high percent positivity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • In Brazil, influenza percent positivity continued to increase with detections of predominantly influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses.
  • In the Caribbean, low detections of predominantly influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus continued to be reported. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity remained low in the region.
  • SARI hospitalizations decreased in Haiti.
  • In Jamaica, decreased detections of influenza A viruses were reported.
  • In Central American countries, influenza activity was low in general with the exception of Guatemala and Honduras, where influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus detections remained elevated.

Globally, of specimens tested between May 28 and June 10, 2018:

  • 71.1% were influenza A,
  • 28.9% were influenza B,
  • Of subtypes influenza A viruses, 72.8% were 2009 H1N1 and 27.2% were H3N2,
  • Of the characterized influenza B viruses, 74% belonged to the Yamagata lineage.

For Americans traveling to the Southern Hemisphere who have not been appropriately protected from these influenza viruses, vaccination services are available at most pharmacies.

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These pharmacies offer several FDA approved flu vaccines.

International travelers can easily make pre-departure vaccination appointments at Vax-Before-Travel. 

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector prices for general information.

Flu vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

This WHO data is aggregated by the National Influenza Centres and other national influenza laboratories from 71 countries, areas or territories, and report to FluNet.