February 8, 2018

February 8, 2018

Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)

Alicia provided highlights of the influenza surveillance report from week 4, ending January 27, 2018. Although influenza activity has continued to increase nationally, we are beginning to see some signs that activity may be declining, particularly along the west coast. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories was 26.1%. This level has been relatively stable for the last 3 weeks. The percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza A (76.4%) is beginning to decrease, while the percentage of influenza B specimens (23.6%) is on the rise. Data from public health laboratories indicates 80% of tested viruses were influenza A and 20% were influenza B. Of the subtyped influenza A viruses, 84% were H3 of the variety, and 91% of the B viruses for which lineage information was available were B Yamagata. When compared with previous weeks, these percentages indicate that the amount of B viruses and H1 viruses are continuing to increase as the season progresses. Specimens characterized since May continue to be antigenically and genetically similar to the reference virus for this season’s vaccine. The antigenic similarity is slightly lower for egg-grown virus than cell-grown virus. Of the several hundred viruses that have been tested, only 2 have shown any antiviral resistance. Both of these virus samples were H1N1, which is not the predominant strain this season.

Nationwide, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity was at 7.1%, up from the 6.6% reported in the prior week. This is the 10th consecutive week that we have been at or above baseline ILI levels. This is the highest ILI level we have seen since the 2009 pandemic. All 10 HHS regions are above their region-specific baselines. ILI information also is available on a state level, with activity summarized as high, moderate, low, or minimal. Last week, 42 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia reported high ILI activity, 2 states and the Puerto Rico reported moderate ILI activity, 3 states reported low ILI activity, and 3 states reported minimal ILI activity.

Based on reports from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) surveillance system available for the week ending January 13, 9.7% of deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This system has been above the epidemic threshold for four consecutive weeks.

Information from the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) indicates an overall hospitalization rate of 51.4 per 100,000 population. The highest rate (226.8 per 100,000) was among adults aged >65 years, followed by adults aged 50–64 (54.0 per 100,000 population) and children aged 0–4 years (33.3 per 100,000 population). This season’s hospitalization rates for all age groups for week 4 are higher than week 4 for the 2014–2015, our most recent H3 predominant season, It is too early to say whether this represents a true increase in the intensity of this season’s activity or whether this reflects the timing of the activity early in the season.

Sixteen (16) influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported during week 4. For the 2017–2018 season, the total number of reported pediatric deaths is 53.

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, 48 states and Puerto Rico reported widespread activity, 1 state (Oregon) and Guam reported regional activity, 1 state (Hawaii) and the District of Columbia reported local activity, and 0 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported sporadic activity.

Announcements – Carolyn Bridges (Berry Technology Solutions)

Influenza Vaccine Availability Survey – Carolyn thanked all the Summit partners who responded to the recent survey designed to help get a snapshot of the influenza vaccine supply in the U.S. In summary, the vaccine supply seems adequate for ordering from manufacturers and distributors, although not all formulations of vaccine are available. Most providers who responded to the survey reported they still have vaccine, and most of those who have attempted to order additional vaccine have been able to obtain doses. Carolyn reminded Summit members that patients can be referred to vaccinefinder.org to find available vaccine in their area. She also reminded partners that the IVATS site includes information to assist providers in finding vaccine.

2018 Immunization Excellence Awards – Today (February 8) is the deadline for submitting nominations for the Summit’s 2018 Immunization Excellence Awards.

2018 Summit Meeting – Persons planning to attend the in-person 2018 Summit meeting on May 17–18 should register at this time. (Individuals needing the password to register may contact L.J Tan. Information also is available on submission of a poster abstract. Persons presenting a poster at the National Immunization Conference may submit the same abstract to the Summit.

2018 Immunization Schedules – The updated immunization schedules for children/adolescents and adults have been posted in the MMWR.

Zoster VIS – In response to questions, Carolyn noted that a new zoster VIS is in the works and should be available within the next 1–2 weeks. Summit partners will be notified as soon as this is published.

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