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Biological Health Hazard – Influenza Outbreak (human infection), WHO Global Update: Cases Surge in Queensland, Australia


Published Date: 2017-08-12 10:54:02
Subject: PRO/EDR> Influenza (17): WHO global update, Australia (QL)
Archive Number: 20170812.5237383

In this update:
[1] WHO update
[2] Cases Surge in Queensland, Australia

[1] WHO update
Date: 7 Aug 2017
Source: WHO Surveillance and monitoring, influenza updates [edited]

Influenza update – 295 (based on data up to up to 23 Jul 2017)
In the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere and in some countries of Southeast Asia, high levels of influenza activity continued to be reported. In Central America and the Caribbean, increased influenza activity was reported in a few countries. Influenza activity in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere was reported at low levels. Worldwide, influenza A(H3N2) viruses are predominating.

– In temperate South America, influenza activity, severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza like illness (ILI) indicators decreased in the countries reporting data. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominated in the region with some B virus activity reported as well.
– In Southern Africa, seasonal activity appeared to decrease after peaking in week 26, with influenza A(H3N2) being the most detected viruses.
– In Oceania, seasonal influenza activity continued to increase, with influenza A(H3N2) and B viruses present in the region.
– In tropical South America, influenza activity remained low.
– In the Caribbean and Central American countries, respiratory virus activity remained generally low and increased in some countries.
– In East, Southern and Western Asia, influenza activity remained low in general.
– In Southeast Asia, influenza activity continued to be reported, with all seasonal influenza subtypes present in the region. High influenza activity was reported from some countries.
– In Western Africa, low influenza activity was reported in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo, with influenza A(H3N2) and A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses co-circulating in the region. In Eastern Africa, few influenza A(H3N2) virus detections were reported.
– In Northern Africa, no influenza virus detections were reported.
– In Central Asia, there were no updated reports on virus detections or respiratory illness indicators.
– In Europe and North America, little to no influenza activity was reported.

National Influenza Centres (NICs) and other national influenza laboratories from 78 countries, areas or territories reported data to FluNet for the period from 10 Jul 2017 to 23 Jul 2017 (data as of 2017-08-04 04:25:11 UTC). The WHO GISRS laboratories tested more than 58 087 specimens during that time. 9972 were positive for influenza viruses, of which 9149 (91.7 percent) were typed as influenza A and 823 (8.3 percent) as influenza B. Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 653 (8 percent) were influenza A (H1N1)pdm09, and 7505 (92 percent) were influenza A (H3N2). Of the characterized B viruses, 173 (58.4 percent) belonged to the B-Yamagata lineage and 123 (41.6 percent) to the B-Victoria lineage.

Communicated by:

[There is high influenza activity in most of the Southern Hemisphere and inter-seasonal levels in most countries of the Northern Hemisphere. A/H3N2 viruses were predominant overall. – Mod.UBA]

[2] Cases Surge in Queensland, Australia
Date: 10 Aug 2017
Source: Brisbane Times [edited]

The number of lab confirmed flu cases in Queensland has increased by one third, after 3624 cases were reported across the state in just one week.

“For context, that’s the 2nd highest number of weekly notifications of flu ever reported in Queensland, and it’s a one third increase in the total flu numbers in Queensland this year [2017],” Health Minister Cameron Dick said.

The steep increase, the highest number of cases in one week since 2015, has taken the total number of confirmed cases since January [2017] to 14 455.

Mr Dick said Queenslanders could still take steps to prevent themselves from getting the flu, including getting the vaccination and staying home from work if they are sick.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said it was not too late for people to get the flu vaccination. “You don’t have to go to work if you’re sick; you can stay at home and recover from the flu,” he said.

Queensland Health public health executive director Sonya Bennett, from the communicable diseases unit, said the increase in confirmed flu cases showed that there is a “fair bit” of influenza circulating in the community. “It may still rise again the next week or so, as the minister said it’s not too late to vaccinate.”

Mr Dick said people with flu symptoms should think about visiting their GP instead of the emergency department. “If you have a lower level condition, you may have to wait for treatment, because we must give priority to people who require assistance,” he said.

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital emergency specialist David Rosengren said emergency services were “well equipped” to deal with the surge in demand; staff members have also been affected by the winter illness.

“It is certainly very challenging at the moment, when we have a record demand for services,” Dr Rosengren said. “Reserve a visit to the emergency department for occasions when it’s truly needed.”

The vast majority of this year’s [2017] flu cases were influenza A, which Dr Rosengren said was likely behind the heightened demand on emergency services. “75 per cent of our cases this year [2017] happen to be influenza A, which tends to cause a more significant symptom complex for patients than influenza B,” he said.

Dr Rosengren said it was important for people to minimise their contact with other people if they believed they had the flu.

“If you are unwell … with symptoms typical of the flu, please be very conscious of the impact of spreading that around the community, and if you’re unwell, stay at home,” he said.

Dr Bennett said most people would be able to tell whether they had influenza instead of an ordinary winter cold. “I think we’ve all been unwell from time to time and understand when rest … is the best method,” she said. “Or if you’re feeling particularly unwell, can’t get out of bed, not able to eat and drink effectively, those sorts of signs are the indication that you should go and see your doctor.”

With hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend the Ekka show from Friday [11 Aug 2017], Dr Bennett said the best way to avoid picking up the flu along with a show bag was to be vaccinated.

“Like any mass gathering when it is influenza season and gastro season, the best way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene, so regular handwashing and vaccination are the best protections against the flu,” she said. “I would ask people that are attending any mass gathering to consider those things.”

[Byline: Rachel Clun]

Communicated by:

[A HealthMap for Queensland, Australia can be found at]

See Also

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Influenza (15): WHO update, Hong Kong surge in activity 20170727.5207867
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Influenza (13): WHO global update 20170620.5113159
Influenza (12): India (HP), H1N1pdm09, ass. fatal cases 20170526.5064909
Influenza (10): WHO global update 20170413.4962706
Influenza (09): WHO global update 20170323.4917382
Influenza (08): WHO global update, vaccine effectiveness, new A/H3N2 clade 20170225.4863942
Influenza (07): North America, seasonal vaccine studies 20170220.4850849
Influenza (06): seasonal vaccine studies 20170219.4849628
Influenza (05): WHO global update 20170214.4837368
Influenza (04): Italy, H1N1, indirect exp to swine 20170203.4812459
Influenza (03): WHO global update 20170126.4792948
Influenza (02): WHO global update, national reports 20170116.4767472
Influenza (01): Canada, H3N2v 20170102.4731669

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Influenza (50): WHO Global update, Costa Rica, seasonal 20161217.4691931
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Influenza (47): Canada (YT), Reunion, WHO global update 20161129.4655906
Influenza (46): WHO global update, seasonal 20161116.4632025
Influenza (45): WHO global update, seasonal 20161101.4598963
Influenza (44): narcolepsy, vaccine associated 20161030.4595554
Influenza (43): USA (OH) H3N2 variant outbreak 20161030.4592086
Influenza (42): Sweden, vaccine efficacy study 20161030.4592085
Influenza (41): WHO global update, seasonal 20161025.4583056
Influenza (40): Mexico (AG) seasonal surge 20161014.4559640
Influenza (39): WHO global update, seasonal 20161009.4547828
Influenza (38): WHO global update, seasonal 20160921.4505854
Influenza (37): WHO global update, seasonal 20160910.4478421
Influenza (36): Australia (WA) case surge 20160901.4454240
Influenza (35): seasonal, WHO global update 20160827.4445283
Influenza (34): seasonal, impact of influenza B 20160821.4431011
Influenza (33): Australia (NS) seasonal activity surge 20160817.4420409
Influenza (32): WHO global update, seasonal 20160810.4404144
Influenza (31): Panama, H1N1 20160806.4383921
Influenza (30): WHO global update, seasonal 20160726.4370090
Influenza (29): South America activity levels 20160716.4348875
Influenza (27): WHO global update, seasonal 20160715.4344014
Influenza (26): WHO global update, seasonal 20160630.4317933
Influenza (25): WHO global update, seasonal 20160616.4290476
Influenza (24): seasonal, WHO global update 20160603.4262742
Influenza (23): seasonal, WHO global update, USA (TN) unusual local surge 20160521.4236158
Influenza (20): seasonal, WHO global update 20160421.4173579
Influenza (19): UK, impact of vaccine mismatch, comment 20160411.4152610
Influenza (18): UK, impact of vaccine mismatch 20160410.4146702
Influenza (17): Mexico, Kosovo, Peru, case surge 20160401.4124407
Influenza (16): UK, USA, high activity 20160328.4122414
Influenza (15): seasonal, WHO global update 20160323.4114051
Influenza (14): WHO update on vaccine candidates for zoonotic influenza 20160320.4106795
Influenza (13): ECDC summary, WHO update 20160313.4090542
Influenza (12): China (HK) seasonal, influenza B 20160313.4088935
Influenza (11): flu news, sit rep, Ukraine, Georgia, H1N1, H3N2 20160223.4045191
Influenza (10): WHO update, risk assessment, Ukraine, E Europe, Middle East H1N1 20160210.4007591
Influenza (09): USA, CDC alert, Russia 20160202.3988739
Influenza (07): Egypt (BH) H1N1 20160124.3962173
Influenza (06): USA (WA), Eastern Europe, increased cases H1N1 20160123.3960019
Influenza (04): Turkey, H1N1 20160114.3936792
Influenza (01): India (MH) H1N1 20160103.3907597

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ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

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