Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)
Alicia provided a brief update on influenza activity in the United States. Data for influenza activity through Week 18, ending May 2, 2020, indicate a low level of influenza.
Clinical laboratory data show low influenza virus circulation, comparable to the levels generally seen in mid-summer. Reported influenza-like illness (ILI) accounted for 1.5% of outpatient visits, the third consecutive week below baseline levels. Only three states and Puerto Rico reported high or moderate ILI levels; all other states and territories reported minimal levels. In addition, laboratory-confirmed hospitalization levels have flattened. In response to a question about whether these lower levels could be the result of decreased reporting from providers who are overwhelmed with the COVID-19 response, Alicia stated the data do not bear this out. The number of specimens submitted has actually increased, even though the percentage of positives has dropped.
Pneumonia and influenza (P&I) accounted for 7.4% of deaths during the week, which is higher than the epidemic threshold of 6.7%. The majority of the pneumonia deaths were related to COVID-19. CDC will continue to closely monitor these reports.
A total of 174 influenza-related pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2019–2020 influenza season.
All surveillance systems typically used to monitor influenza activity are now being used to monitor the impact of COVID-19. CDC is now releasing this data via COVIDView.
One bright spot in the current season is that we are not seeing large circulation of respiratory viruses other than COVID-19. However, determining which viruses are causing activity this fall may be much more complicated. CDC currently is making plans for new presentations of surveillance reports this fall.
One Summit partner noted that, as planning for next season proceeds, it will be important to have virologic data to correspond with the disease surveillance data. Partners also discussed what influenza activity is currently being seen in the southern hemisphere. Alicia will discuss this on a future call.
Announcements – L.J Tan (IAC)
Summit Virtual Meeting – Because the Summit was cancelled for this year, a virtual meeting will be held highlighting some of the issues usually covered on the final day of the in-person meeting. The meeting is planned for May 21 from 3–5 pm ET. Along with the traditional updates from influenza vaccine manufacturers, topics to be covered at the meeting include:
- Timing of vaccination recommendations and short update on vaccine effectiveness
- Influenza pandemic vaccination resources – planning for seasonal flu vaccine campaigns
- AIRA update on IIS activities
- CDC influenza messaging
- Update – CDC, ACIP Flu Workgroup
- Manufacturer and HIDA presentations
Registration information may be requested on the Summit website. L.J encouraged partners to register as soon as possible rather than waiting until the last minute, as there may be insufficient time to approve late requests prior to the start of the webinar.