November 9, 2017

Amy Parker-Fiebelkorn served as the moderator for today’s call.


Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)

Alicia provided highlights of the influenza surveillance report from week 43, ending on October 28, 2017. Overall, we continue to see low levels of influenza throughout the country, but activity is slowly creeping upward. Activity is being seen throughout the country.

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories was 2.9%. The majority of specimens (68%) tested at public health laboratories were influenza A, and 32% were influenza B. Influenza A H3 continues to be the dominant strain reported, though smaller numbers of influenza A (H1) and influenza B also have been reported. For the 2017–2018 season as a whole, 88% of influenza A specimens were H3, 10% were H1, and 2% had not yet been subtyped. Of the 35 influenza B specimens for which lineage information was available, 34 were B Yamagata and one was B Victoria. There has been little change in the antigenic characterization since last week’s update. All of the H1 viruses, most of the H3 viruses, and all of the B Yamagata viruses that have been antigenically characterized and collected in the United States since May have been similar to the vaccine strains. There have been no real antigenic changes in the B Victoria viruses, but very few of these viruses have been detected.

Nationwide, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity was at 1.5%, well below the national baseline of 2.2%. All 10 of the HHS regions are below their region-specific baselines. ILI information also is available on a state level, with activity summarized as high, moderate, low, or minimal. Last week, Wyoming reported moderate ILI activity, 4 states (Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and South Dakota) reported low ILI activity, and 45 states reported minimal ILI activity.

In terms of geographic spread of influenza within a state (characterized as regional, local, sporadic, or no activity) as reported by state and territorial epidemiologists, 4 states (Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) reported regional activity, 12 states reported local activity, and 31 states reported sporadic activity, with one state reporting no activity.

Based on reports from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) surveillance system available for the week ending October 14, 5.6% of deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This percentage is below the epidemic threshold of 6.2% for the week.

One influenza-associated pediatric death was reported during week 43, but this was a delayed report from the 2016–2017 season. For the 2017–2018 season, the total number of reported pediatric deaths remains at one.

Three reports of human infection with novel influenza A virus were received during week 43. One report each was received from Colorado, Nebraska, and Michigan. Two of the cases were H3N2v, while one was an H1N2v. These are viruses that typically circulate in swine; they are named “variants” when they infect people. A total of 65 variant viruses have been reported 2017. Almost all of these have been associated with people who attended agricultural fairs or some sort of livestock event. In three cases, limited person-to-person transmission cannot be ruled out. These numbers should dwindle now that fair season is winding down.

2018 Summit In-Person Meeting – Amy Parker-Fiebelkorn

Amy reminded callers that the 2018 Summit in-person meeting will be held in conjunction with the National Immunization Conference (NIC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The NIC will be May 15–17, and the Summit will be May 17–18. Attendees are encouraged to participate in both events.

Poster abstracts are now being accepted for NIC. The same abstract may be submitted through a separate process (to be announced shortly) for the Summit meeting. The Summit’s poster session will be held on Thursday evening, May 17.

Upcoming Webinars

L.J encouraged Summit members to check out The Buzz from November 2 to review the large number of educational webinars scheduled to take place over the next few weeks.

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