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Influenza monthly update, August 2018

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In the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, influenza activity continue to decrease in the month of August in many countries reporting data to FluNet and EMFLU namely, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Influenza geographic spread  in Eastern Mediterranean Region, August 2018

Fig. 1. Influenza geographic spread in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, August 2018

Influenza activity by subtype

  • In August 2018, no new cases of human influenza A(H5N1) were reported in Egypt.
  • In the northern Africa influenza transmission zone, Egypt reported sporadic circulation of A(H3) virus.
  • In the Western Asia influenza transmission zone, Qatar and Saudi Arabia reported co-circulation of all seasonal influenza viruses. In Iraq, influenza B virus was detected, while Bahrain reported sporadic detection of A(H3). Jordan and Lebanon reported no activity. 
  • In southern Asia transmission zone, Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Pakistan reported no activity. 

Fig. 2 shows the weekly distribution of influenza subtypes.


Fig. 2. Weekly positive cases of influenza by subtype, Epi week 34/2017-34/2018

Source: FluNet and EMFLU

Circulating influenza viruses by subtype 

  • During August 2018, national influenza centres and influenza laboratories in the Region tested a total of 2239 specimens for influenza viruses of which 197 tested positive (9%).
  • The average percentage of positivity rates is 9%, with highest positivity rate recorded in Bahrain, Iraq and Qatar.
  • Of the viruses tested; 128 (65%) were influenza A viruses, including 95 (48%) influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and 24 (12%) were influenza A(H3) virus. Influenza B (lineage not determined) virus accounted for 69 (35%) (Fig. 3).


Fig. 3. Circulating influenza viruses in the Region by subtype, Epi week 31-34, 2018

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Influenza monthly update, August 2018