News Scan for Feb 14, 2020
US flu still rising; Polio cases in 6 countries

Filed Under:
Influenza, General; Polio

US flu activity still rising, nearing earlier peak, with 14 more kids' deaths

US flu levels rose for the fourth straight week and are now approaching earlier peak levels, while 14 new flu-related pediatric deaths raised the fatalities in kids to 92 for the season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its weekly FluView report.
The rise comes as the 2009 H1N1 strain has risen to predominance across the country in a season noted for early influenza B predominance and now a two-peak epidemiologic curve. The CDC estimates that flu has sickened at least 26 million Americans this season and led to 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths.
The percentage of clinic visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) rose to 6.8% last week, up from 6.6% the week before, while the share of respiratory samples at clinical labs that tested positive for flu rose from 30.1% to 30.8%.
The number of jurisdictions reporting high ILI activity—another clinic-visit marker—dropped a bit, from 47 to 46. The number of jurisdictions reporting regional or widespread flu remained at 51 for the third week in a row.
Among specimens tested at public health labs, 66.2% were influenza A and 33.8% influenza B for the week. Until recent weeks, flu B had predominated the entire season. Of the A strains subtyped, 95.5% were the H1N1 strain and 4.5% the H3N2 strain.
The hospitalization rate rose to 41.9 per 100,000 population, which the CDC says is similar to levels usually seen at this time of the year. The previous week saw a hospitalization rate of 35.5 per 100,000 population. As in previous weeks, the elderly have the highest hospitalization rates.
The 14 deaths in children occurred from the end of December 2019 to last week. Ten were tied to influenza B and 4 to influenza A. Of the latter, 2 were subtyped, with 1 being the H1N1 strain and one H3N2.
Feb 14 CDC FluView update

Six African and Asian countries report new polio cases

Six countries in Africa and Asia—Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Ethiopia, and the Philippines—have reported a total of 21 new polio cases in the past week, according to the latest update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Ethiopia led the list with 7 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2): 4 in Oromiya province and 3 in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' Regional State (SNNPR). Only one case had onset of paralysis this year. Of 12 cVDPV2 cases reported in Ethiopia so far, 4 cases are linked to an outbreak in neighbouring Somalia, the GPEI said.
The DRC reported 2 cases of cVDPV2 in Kwilu province and 2 in Sankuru, according to the DRC country update in the report. With onsets last year, these raised the number of 2019 cVDPV cases to 84. (A summary of new cases in the same report mentioned only 2 cases in the DRC; further information about the DRC case count could not be immediately obtained.)
The DRC reported 2 cases of cVDPV2 in Kwilu province and 2 in Sankuru. With onsets last year, these raised the number of 2019 cVDPV cases to 84.
In Angola, 3 cases of cVDPV2 were reported this week, 1 each in Biť, Huambo, and Namibe provinces. None of the cases had onset this year. The country had 114 vaccine-derived cases in seven outbreaks last year.
Nigeria reported its first cVDPV2 case with onset this year, in Anambra province. The government reported 18 cVDPV2 cases in the country last year.
The Philippines also noted its first cVDPV2 case with onset this year, in Central Luzon province. The count of vaccine-derived cases for 2019 remains at 15.
So far this year, 18 new polio cases (12 WPV and 6 cVDPV) have been reported globally, compared with 15 (9 WPV and 6 cVDPV) at this time last year.
Feb 13 GPEI report