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South America, southern Africa are main flu hot sp

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    Posted: June 30 2016 at 6:37am
WHO: South America, southern Africa are main flu hot spots

South America and southern Africa have reported steady rises in flu activity over the past few weeks, but disease activity is rising more slowly in other Southern Hemisphere countries such as Australia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest global flu update.

The 2009 H1N1 virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the main viruses detected in South America, but influenza B is predominant in southern African countries.

In South America, flu activity in Brazil seems to have peaked earlier than usual and at a high level that was similar to 2013, when 2009 H1N1 was the dominant strain. Of Brazil's deaths from severe respiratory infection, almost 71% of patients had underlying health conditions, the WHO said. Elsewhere, flu levels increased in Bolivia and Colombia.

In contrast, flu levels in Australia were at or just above baseline levels, with New Zealand also reporting low flu activity.

Flu activity from 2009 H1N1 is still under way in some parts of Central America, with levels rising in Panama, the WHO reported. In Africa, flu is increasing steadily in temperate southern regions.

Other parts of the world are seeing low flu activity, including the Caribbean countries, other parts of Africa, Asian countries, North America, and Europe.

At the global level, influenza A was responsible for about 60% of flu detections, and of the subtyped "A" strains, 86% were the 2009 H1N1 virus while the rest were H3N2, according to the WHO.
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