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Current Trends Update: Influenza Activity -- Worldwide

Beginning in November, influenza virus activity shifts from the southern to the northern hemisphere. Thus, isolates of influenza viruses are increasing in Canada, Trinidad, the United States, Japan, and Europe and are declining in South America, Oceania, and southern Asia.

Europe. In France, an influenza type A(H1N1) epidemic has been reported. It began in the northern and central regions but spread in December to all regions and affected primarily children and young adults. Several influenza type A(H3N2) viruses also have been isolated in France. Type A(H1N1) virus has spread to Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and West Germany, with large outbreaks in some of these countries. Sweden and the Netherlands have reported influenza type A(H3N2) isolation. Outbreaks have occurred in central Sweden among all age groups. In Norway, type A(H1N1) was isolated first in Oslo; type A(H3N2) virus has also been isolated from outbreaks in the southeast. Finland has reported influenza type A virus of unknown subtype.

Asia. Activity in much of southeast Asia has declined; only sporadic isolates of unknown type occurred during September and October in Thailand and Taiwan. However, in Japan, where influenza type B was first isolated in October, influenza type A(H1N1) outbreaks since have occurred among schoolchildren. Influenza activity has increased rapidly, as indicated by absenteeism in schools. Influenza B was also isolated in Hong Kong and Singapore in September and October. In the People's Republic of China, activity has been lower than last year. Of 17 isolates from sporadic cases, 11 were type A(H1N1), two were type A(H3N2), and four were type B.

Americas and Oceania. No new influenza cases have been reported from Oceania and South America since September. However, an island-wide outbreak of influenza A(H1N1) virus occurred in Trinidad during September, and one isolate of influenza type B was also recovered. Canada reported the first isolates of the 1988-89 influenza season from type A(H1N1) virus activity in late November and early December. Most isolates were from Alberta, but others were reported from Manitoba and British Columbia. Influenza type B has been isolated from 14 states in the United States; several outbreaks have occurred in schools. Type A(H3N2) virus and type A(H1N1) virus have also been reported from a few locations in the United States. Reported by: National Influenza Centers, Communicable Diseases Div, World Health Organization, Geneva. WHO Collaborating Center for Influenza, Epidemiology Office and Influenza Br, Div of Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

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