Southern Hemisphere Flu Season Ending
The good news is the flu season in the Southern Hemisphere appears to be ending, according to a new World Health Organization report.
The bad news is the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) data indicates the Northern Hemisphere flu season may soon begin.
In the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity remained elevated in South America and started to decrease in some countries of tropical America.
Influenza activity remained below the seasonal threshold in Australia and New Zealand.
Worldwide, seasonal influenza subtype A viruses accounted for the majority of detections.
National Influenza Centres (NICs) and other national influenza laboratories from 82 countries, areas or territories reported data from more than 47,947 specimens.
Of those tested, (88.1%) were typed as influenza A and 226 (11.9%) as influenza B.
Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 964 (76%) were influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 305 (24%) were influenza A(H3N2).
Of the characterized B viruses, 87 (75.7%) belonged to the B-Yamagata lineage and 28 (24.3%) to the B-Victoria lineage.
This information is important since the 2017/18 flu season was very deadly for children in the USA.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 172 pediatric flu-related deaths during early June 2018.
Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination last season.
The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
For Americans traveling to the Southern Hemisphere who have not been appropriately protected from these influenza viruses, vaccination services are available at most pharmacies.
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.