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Traveling? Flu on the rise in some parts of the Southern Hemisphere

As the Southern Hemisphere approaches its winter season, flu activity has increased in some tropical regions of the Americas, as well as in the temperate zones where the pace of infections hasn’t yet passed the thresholds in most countries, the WHO said yesterday in its latest global flu update for the week ending May 13.

In Brazil, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu is still rising, with influenza A viruses predominant. In Chile and Paraguay, flulike illness and severe acute respiratory illness levels are increasing but are still below seasonal thresholds. South Africa marked the start of its flu season in early May, with 2009 H1N1 predominant and activity still at low levels. In the region around Australia and New Zealand, flu is still mainly at interseasonal levels, except for New Caledonia, which has seen a rise in 2009 H1N1 activity.

Other areas seeing increases include Ethiopia, mainly from 2009 H1N1.

In other parts of the world, flu levels were declining, were low, or had returned to interseasonal levels.

Globally, of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu from late April through the middle of May, 58% were influenza A and 42% were influenza B. Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 62.4% were 2009 H1N1 and 37.6% were H3N2. Of characterized influenza B specimens, 85% were the Yamagata lineage. May 28 WHO global flu update.