CDC Reports Slight Increase in Influenza Activity

And other news about the 2015-2016 influenza season
January 2016, Vol 4, No 1 - Inside Influenza Readiness

In This Article

CDC Reports Slight Increase in Influenza Activity

The latest weekly report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 8, 2016, suggests that seasonal flu activity has increased slightly in the United States.

The proportion of deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza is below system-specific epidemic thresholds. Furthermore, 2 influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in early January. Interestingly, one infection with a novel influenza A virus was reported in New Jersey, influenza A (H3N2) variant (H3N2v); the patient recovered fully and no ongoing human-to-human transmission was reported.

The CDC also tested influenza virus strains for resistance to neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral drugs. Although the vast majority of the viruses tested were sensitive to oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir, one influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus showed resistance to oseltamivir and peramivir; the virus was sensitive to zanamivir.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Situation update: summary of weekly FluView report. Updated January 8, 2016. Accessed January 8, 2016.

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Influenza Vaccination May Protect Children in Future Seasons

Influenza vaccination strategies using 2 doses in children during the same influenza season may be more effective than alternating priming strategies, according to researchers. In addition, this strategy may have a residual protective effect in subsequent seasons if vaccination is missed later on.

Respiratory swabs were collected from outpatients aged 6 months to 8 years with acute cough lasting ≤7 days to determine the effectiveness of full versus partial vaccination with trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV3). Overall, vaccination effectiveness was not higher among children fully vaccinated with IIV3, compared with patients who were partially vaccinated. However, vaccination effectiveness was consistently higher among children (aged 2-8 years) who received 2 doses in the same season, compared with patients who did not.

These data reinforce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that children aged 6 months through 8 years receive 2 doses of the flu vaccine ≥1 months apart the first year they are vaccinated against the flu.

Thompson MG, Clippard J, Petrie JG, et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness for fully and partially vaccinated children 6 months to 8 years old during 2011-2012 and 2012-2013: the importance of two priming doses. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2015 Dec 9. Epub ahead of print.

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Vaccination Rates Low

Only 39% of people in the United States have reported receiving the flu vaccine this season, according to data from the CDC. These estimates are similar to those from the last flu season, and suggest that 3 of 5 Americans have not received their flu vaccine.

Uptake of the vaccine is higher among older patients (aged ≥65 years) and young children (aged 6 months to 4 years), with estimated uptakes of 60% and 52%, respectively. However, older children (aged 13-17 years) were the least likely to receive vaccination, with an estimated uptake of 27%. In addition, only 34% of adults (aged 18-64 years) reported getting the vaccine. Vaccination uptake among pregnant women was similar to that of last year (40%).

Among healthcare providers, the overall vaccination rate was 67%; this rate is similar to that of last season. The highest vaccination rate is among physicians (88%), followed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants (82%), nurses (77%), and pharmacists (77%).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fewer than half of Americans report having gotten a flu vaccine this season. Updated December 10, 2015. Accessed January 8, 2016.

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Last modified: January 29, 2016
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