Sunday, October 14, 2012

Texas State Department of Health (TSDH) confirms a Laredo influenza outbreak in Texas -- 6 times higher than 2011

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 13 Oct 2012

TSDH confirms Laredo flu outbreak
The Texas State Department of Health (TSDH) confirms a Laredo influenza outbreak in Texas -- 6 times higher than 2011 -- in contrast to the absence of flu activity elsewhere in the United States. Laredo Health and school officials are alerting families and recommending immediate action.

A new medical surveillance system, in development, testing and proving for more than 10 years, has identified an outbreak of influenza type B virus infection in Laredo (Texas), a major port of entry between Mexico and the United States. The Texas State Department of Health Services in Austin has confirmed the outbreak, with cases running 6 times higher than at this time in the 2011 influenza season in Laredo. The outbreak is in sharp contrast to a recent report of sparse influenza activity in the United States by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, which is now conducting further confirmatory testing.

[This report contrasts with recent surveillance reports of influenza virus activity in the rest of the northern hemisphere. The most recent WHO Epidemiological Analysis reports that: "Influenza transmission in all reporting countries in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere is still minimal, that is, at inter-seasonal levels. In the United States of America, one additional laboratory-confirmed human case of influenza A(H3N2)v infection was reported since the last update, but no on-going human-to-human transmission has been identified. More information can be found at:

Throughout Europe, 23 countries reported data but influenza activity is still at inter-seasonal levels. During the 1st week of the 2012-2013 influenza season, there was no evidence of significant influenza activity in Europe according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

During weeks 38 to 39, influenza activity remained low throughout most parts of the world. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses remained the predominant circulating virus subtype globally, followed by influenza B and A(H1N1)pdm viruses. However, in Central and South America, influenza B was the predominant circulating virus in the region. It may be that the outbreak in Laredo, an entry port between Mexico and the United States, represent spill-over from Central and South America (see: )

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