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Influenza monthly update, January 2019

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In the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, influenza activity continues to increase in the month of January in many countries reporting data to FluNet and EMFLU namely, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Tunisia.

Influenza geographic spread in Eastern Mediterranean Region, January 2019

Influenza activity by subtype

• In January 2019, no new cases of human influenza A(H5N1) were reported in Egypt.

• In the northern Africa influenza transmission zone, A(H3N2) virus was detected predominantly in Egypt and Tunisia, while Morocco reported increase of activity with Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09.

• In the western Asia influenza transmission zone, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia reported co-circulation of all seasonal influenza types A and B. Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, oPt and Syrian Arab Republic reported co-circulation of A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2).

• In southern Asia transmission zone, Iran (Islamic Republic of) continued reporting circulation of all seasonal influenza viruses with A(H3N2) predominated, while Pakistan reported predominant circulation of A(H1N1)pdm09. Afghanistan reported co-circulation of influenza types A and B viruses.

Source of transmission zones: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/transmission_zones/en/ 

• Figure 2 shows the weekly distribution of influenza subtypes.

Weekly distribution of influenza subtypes

Source: FluNet and EMFLU

Circulating influenza viruses by subtype

• During January 2019, national influenza centres and influenza laboratories in the Region tested a total of 13538 specimens for influenza viruses of which 3401 tested positive (25%).

• The average percentage of positivity rates is 25%, with highest positivity rate recorded in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and oPt.

• Of the viruses tested; 2764 (81%) were influenza A viruses, including 825 (24%) influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and 1339 (40%) were influenza A(H3) virus. Influenza B (Lineage Not determined) virus accounted for 655 (19%) (Figure 3).

Circulating influenza viruses by subtype

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