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Avoiding Influenza is Achievable in 2023

January 15, 2023 • 11:57 am CST
WHO Influenza Reporting Jan. 2023
(Vax Before Travel)

Since influenza is an airborne virus, efforts to avoid catching the flu depend on your proximity to an infectious (sneezing) person. While this logic is simple to say, what reports can a person trust to make virus avoidance decisions in 2023? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Influenza Update N° 436, most countries of North America indicate influenza activity decreased while others were stable or continued to increase.

The WHO finding was supported by the recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report issued on January 13, 2023, that stated seasonal influenza activity continues but is declining in most areas, with specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories decreasing in all regions. 

Elsewhere around the globe, the WHO reported:

In Europe, overall influenza activity continued to increase, with influenza positivity from sentinel sites remaining above the epidemic threshold at the regional level.

In central Asia, influenza activity increased with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominant, followed by influenza B viruses.

In Northern Africa, influenza detections increased among reporting countries with all seasonal subtypes detected. And influenza activity remained low in tropical Africa, with detections of all seasonal influenza subtypes reported. However, activity increased in some countries in Eastern Africa.

In Western Asia, influenza activity decreased overall with all seasonal influenza subtypes detected, though increased activity was reported in some countries.

In East Asia, influenza activity of predominantly influenza A(H3N2) viruses remained low overall among reporting countries but with increases reported in Mongolia and the Republic of Korea. 

In the Caribbean and Central American countries, influenza activity of predominantly influenza A(H3N2) viruses decreased overall but remained elevated in Mexico.

In the tropical countries of South America, influenza detections were generally low. However, influenza positivity was at a moderate level in Ecuador.

In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity decreased in Argentina and Chile to low levels and remained low elsewhere.

In Southern Asia, influenza activity remained low, mainly due to decreased activity reported in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In South-East Asia, detections of predominantly influenza B remained elevated due to continued detections reported in Malaysia.

Before visiting these areas, the CDC suggests speaking with a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to ensure you are appropriately protected from influenza. 

In the U.S., access to flu shots remains abundant, as over 157 million vaccines have already been distributed and are generally available at most clinics and pharmacies.