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Update: Influenza Activity -- United States

Surveillance data indicate a continued decline of national influenza morbidity and mortality. For the week ending March 30, 1985, no state reported widespread outbreaks of influenza-like illness, and one state (Virginia) reported regional outbreaks. Of total deaths reported by 121 cities for the same week, 5.7% were associated with pneumonia or influenza, compared with the 7.3% of total deaths that were associated with pneumonia or influenza for the peak weeks of the season.

Influenza type B viruses have been isolated from students and teachers during two outbreaks in Hawaiian elementary schools. The first outbreak began on March 7 and continued for approximately a week, resulting in an increase in the school absentee rate from 5% to 15%-20%. Influenza type B virus was isolated from four students who were ill during this outbreak. The second outbreak occurred among a group of children from four classrooms of an elementary school that had toured the island of Hawaii from March 13 through March 15 in two large motor buses. One child had left the tour on March 15 with a high fever and sore throat. Throat cultures from the ill student were negative for bacteria, and viral testing was not attempted. Soon after they returned home, an outbreak of influenza-like illness began in the two classes that had traveled on the bus with the ill student; classroom absentee rates exceeded 50%. Less illness occurred in the two classes that had traveled on the other bus, but their absentee rates were also above normal. Influenza type B was isolated from two students and a teacher who traveled with the ill student. These are the first reports of documented outbreaks of type B influenza in the United States this season. Reported by C Ibara, G Kunimoto, S Naka, G Kobayashi, A Liang, MD, State Epidemiologist, Hawaii Dept of Health; Participating physicians of the American Academy of Family Physicians; State and Territorial Epidemiologists; State Laboratory Directors; Other collaborating laboratories; Statistical Svcs Br, Div of Surveillance and Epidemiologic Studies, Div of Field Svcs, Epidemiology Program Office, WHO Collaborating Center for Influenza, Influenza Br, Div of Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

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