Southern Hemisphere Flu News: July 24, 2019

Influenza viruses in the Southern Hemisphere include A(9H3N2) and A(H1N1) during 2019
southern hemisphere antique map
Oceania (Vax Before Travel)

If you are flying to South America or Oceania this summer, you should consider protection from local flu viruses. 

In the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity has increased in Argentina, Australia, and Uruguay reported the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 22, 2019.

And, the WHO said there are two seasonal Influenza A viruses to consider depending upon your trip’s destination, such as the following:

  • In Oceania and South Africa, influenza A(H3N2) viruses are predominated
  • In South America, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominated

Furthermore, the WHO published these updates for various areas of the Southern Hemisphere:

  • In the Caribbean, Central America, and tropical South America, influenza activity was low in general, with the exception of Costa Rica and Panama where influenza A virus activity was high
  • In Cuba and French Guiana (France), influenza virus detections have increased
  • In Southern Asia, influenza activity was low across reporting countries, except in Bangladesh where activity remained high with influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominate
  • In southeast Asia, an increase in influenza activity was observed in a few reporting countries
  • In Africa, with the exception of South Africa, influenza activity was low across reporting countries

This WHO data is aggregated by the National Influenza Centres (NICs) and other national influenza laboratories from 91 countries, areas or territories reported data to FluNet for the time period from 24 June 2019 to 07 July 2019. 

The WHO laboratories tested more than 49,384 specimens during that time period. Of the 5,748 positive test for influenza viruses, 67.7 percent were typed as influenza A and 32.3 percent as influenza B. 

Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 37.3 percent were influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 62.7 percent were influenza A(H3N2).   

Of the characterized B viruses, 95.6 percent was the B/Victoria lineage. 

The CDC suggests in addition to a 2019 Southern Hemisphere flu shot, international travelers should consider Routine Vaccines and the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine prior to departure.

Pre-trip flu vaccine counseling sessions can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.   

In the USA, most pharmacies offer antiviral flu medicines and various influenza vaccines.

To help those without access to insurance programs, financial assistance programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.


Article by
Dani Reiter