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Weekly Report: Influenza Summary Update

Week ending April 16, 2005-Week 15

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The following information may be quoted:

Synopsis:

Influenza activity in the United States peaked in early February and continued to decline during week 15 (April 10-16, 2005)*. Fifty (6.1%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories were positive for influenza viruses. The proportion of patient visits to sentinel providers for influenza-like illness (ILI) was below the national baseline. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold. There have been 29 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported to CDC this season. There were no reports of widespread influenza activity. One state reported regional influenza activity, 14 states reported local activity, and 30 states and New York City reported sporadic activity. Three states and the District of Columbia reported no influenza activity.

Laboratory Surveillance*:

During week 15, WHO and NREVSS laboratories in the United States reported testing 817 specimens for influenza viruses, of which 50 (6.1%) were positive. Of these, 4 were influenza A(H3N2) viruses, 9 were influenza A viruses that were not subtyped, and 37 were influenza B viruses.

Since October 3, WHO and NREVSS laboratories in the United States have tested a total of 134,025 specimens for influenza viruses and 21,699 (16.2%) were positive. Among the 21,699 influenza viruses, 16,740 (77.1%) were influenza A viruses and 4,959 (22.9%) were influenza B viruses. Five thousand four hundred seventy-nine (32.7%) of the 16,740 influenza A viruses have been subtyped: 5,463 (99.7%) were influenza A(H3N2) and 16 (0.3%) were influenza A(H1) viruses. The percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza during the last 3 weeks (weeks 12-14) has ranged from 4.7% in the West South Central region to 17.9% in the South Atlantic region**. Nationally, influenza B viruses became more frequently reported than influenza A viruses during the week ending March 26 and have predominated each week since then.

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated


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Antigenic Characterization:

CDC has antigenically characterized 755 influenza viruses collected by U.S. laboratories since October 1, 2004: 6 influenza A(H1) viruses, 510 influenza A(H3N2) viruses, and 239 influenza B viruses. The hemagglutinin proteins of the influenza A(H1) viruses were similar antigenically to the hemagglutinin of the vaccine strain A/New Caledonia/20/99. One hundred fifty-four (20%) of the 510 influenza A(H3N2) isolates were characterized as antigenically similar to A/Wyoming/3/2003, which is the A/Fujian/411/2002-like (H3N2) component of the 2004-05 influenza vaccine, and 356 (80%) were characterized as A/California/7/2004-like. One hundred sixty of the influenza B viruses isolated this season belong to the B/Yamagata lineage and were characterized as B/Shanghai/361/2002-like, which is the influenza B component recommended for the 2004-05 influenza vaccine, and 26 showed somewhat reduced titers to ferret antisera produced against B/Shanghai/361/2002. Fifty-three influenza B viruses belong to the B/Victoria lineage.

Influenza B viruses currently circulating can be divided into two antigenically and genetically distinct lineages represented by B/Yamagata/16/88 and B/Victoria/2/87 viruses. B/Yamagata lineage viruses circulated widely between 1990 and 2001, during which time B/Victoria-like viruses were not identified outside of Asia. However, between March 2001 and October 2003, B/Victoria-like viruses predominated in many countries, including the United States, and the vaccine strains were changed accordingly. While both Victoria lineage and Yamagata lineage viruses have been reported worldwide during the past year, Yamagata lineage viruses have once again become predominant.

Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) Mortality Surveillance*:

During week 15, 7.8% of all deaths reported by the vital statistics offices of 122 U.S. cities were attributed to pneumonia or influenza. This percentage is below the epidemic threshold of 7.9% for week 15.

 Pneumonia And Influenza Mortality

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Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality*:

During week 15, one pediatric death was reported to CDC. Twenty-nine pediatric deaths have been reported to CDC from 13 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont); all deaths were reported during January-April.

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Hospitalizations:

Laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric hospitalizations are monitored in two population-based surveillance networks†: the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) and the New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN). During October 3, 2004–April 2, 2005, the preliminary influenza-associated hospitalization rate for children 0–4 years old reported by NVSN and EIP was 6.2 and 2.1 per 10,000, respectively. EIP also monitors hospitalizations in children aged 5-17 years, and the preliminary influenza-associated hospitalization rate for this age group was 0.4 per 10,000. The overall hospitalization rate reported by EIP for children aged 0-17 years was 1.0 per 10,000. In years 2000–2004, the end-of-season hospitalization rate for NVSN ranged from 3.7 (2002-03) to 12 (2003-04) per 10,000 children. The 2003-04 end of season hospitalization rate for EIP was 7.8 per 10,000 children 0-4 years and 0.8 per 10,000 for children aged 5-17 years. The difference in rates between NVSN and EIP may be due to different case-finding methods and the different populations monitored. For a summary of the methods used in each system, please refer to the surveillance methods in the Flu Activity section of the CDC influenza website.

NVSN laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations for children 0-4 years old
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EIP Influenza Laboratory-Confirmed Cumulative Hospitalization Rates for Children 0-4 years and 5-17 years, 2004-05 and 2003-04
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Influenza-like Illness Surveillance*:

During week 15, 1.2%†† of patient visits to U.S. sentinel providers were due to ILI. This percentage is below the national baseline of 2.5%. Regional percentages ranged from 0.1% in the West North Central region to 1.8% in the East South Central region. Due to wide variability in regional level data, it is not appropriate to apply the national baseline to regional level data.

Bar Chart for Influenza-like Illness
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Influenza Activity as Assessed by State and Territorial Epidemiologists*:

There were no reports of widespread influenza activity during week 15. Kentucky reported regional influenza activity. Fourteen states (Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia) reported local activity. Thirty states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and New York City reported sporadic activity. Three states (Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia) and the District of Columbia reported no influenza activity. Idaho and North Dakota did not report.

U. S. map for Weekly Influenza Activity
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Foot notes

Report prepared: April 21, 2005

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