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Influenza Viruses Remain Hard to Find

July 7, 2021 • 5:07 pm CDT
(Vax Before Travel)

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its bi-monthly influenza reported on July 5, 2021. Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year, stated the WHO. 

During early June 2021, the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System laboratories tested more than 146,816 specimens. Only 766 specimens were positive for influenza viruses, of which 682 (89%) were identified as influenza B. Of the type B viruses for which lineage was determined, all 624 (100%) were ascribed to the B-Victoria lineage.

The WHO added, 'the current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced varying extents health-seeking behaviors, testing priorities, and capacities in the Member States.'

  • In the Caribbean and Central American countries, there were no influenza detections reported. 
  • In tropical South America, no influenza detections were reported. 
  • In tropical Africa, a few influenza detections were reported in some countries in Western and Eastern Africa.
  • In Southern Asia, a few influenza detections were reported from India. 
  • In Southeast Asia, no influenza detections were reported. 
  • In the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity remained at inter-seasonal levels.
  • In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remained at inter-seasonal levels, though detections of influenza B/Victoria lineage slightly increased, especially in China.

The most common flu shot in the Northern Hemisphere are quadrivalent vaccines that protect people against four viruses: influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses, said the U.S. CDC. In addition, two new influenza vaccines have been licensed for use in people aged 65 and older; a quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine and a quadrivalent adjuvanted influenza vaccine.

Most people over 6-months of age are encouraged to get vaccinated every flu season since influenza infections can create severe consequences, said the CDC.

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