Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)
Alicia reported that we currently are seeing extremely low levels of influenza activity, even lower than is typically seen during summer months. During the last 4 weeks, approximately 1% of specimens tested at clinical labs have been positive for influenza. The majority of these have been influenza A, though a smattering of all viruses (H1, H3, B Yamagata, and B Victoria) has been seen.
CDC has received one report of an H3N2-v (variant) virus in a child in Indiana. Variant influenza viruses are those which typically circulate in the swine population, but which have been isolated in a human. These can occur at any time of year. However, CDC remains particularly vigilant about variant cases reported during the summer months because that is when state and county agricultural fairs occur. This provides the perfect setting for variant virus transmission. The child has fully recovered, and no human-to-human transmission was identified.
Outpatient influenza-like illness (ILI) also is extremely low, accounting for >1% of healthcare visits. In addition, influenza and pneumonia mortality is well below baseline levels.
A total of 178 pediatric influenza deaths have been reported in the 2017–2018 season. The most recent death occurred in May. Since Alicia’s last report, there have been no significant changes in the virus strains causing these deaths or the vaccination status of the children involved, with approximately 78–80% of children being unvaccinated.
On the international level, influenza activity is low throughout the Northern hemisphere. In the Southern hemisphere, where we are in the midst of the influenza season, activity is on the rise in South America, with H3 as the predominant strain. The peak of activity seems to have passed in Southern Africa, where H1 was predominant. Australia and New Zealand are seeing very low levels of influenza.
Announcements – L.J Tan (IAC)
- UNITY Consortium Adolescent Campaign – The UNITY Consortium works on improving adolescent immunization coverage rates. The group has begun a Vax@16 campaign, which emphasizes the 16-year-old well visit and the fact that vaccines can protect teens at that age. The campaign aims to increase awareness among parents, teens, and healthcare providers about vaccines available for 16-year-olds, including MenACWY, MenB, seasonal influenza, and other catch-up vaccines as appropriate. A wide variety of tools are available on the campaign website, including an infographic, video shorts for prioritizing adolescents, materials highlighting vaccination at ages 11–12 and 16 and protection from teen vaccine-preventable diseases, and posters directed at teens (in English and Spanish). Vax@16 resources for healthcare professionals also are available under the professional resources tab.
- NFID Adolescent Campaign – The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has developed a new adolescent immunization campaign, The Talk, which is specifically aimed at increasing HPV vaccine awareness. The campaign was developed in collaboration with DoSomething.org, the largest non-profit digital platform exclusively for young people and social change. The site reaches more than 6 million adolescents. The Talk campaign encourages young people to create personalized cards to give to their parent/guardian to start a conversation about HPV disease and HPV vaccination. The campaign, which is scheduled to run until September 17, 2018, includes the opportunity for participants to win a $3,000 scholarship.
- Summer Schedule for Summit Calls – L.J reminded callers that during the summer, Summit calls occur on a monthly basis.