1. Let's talk a little #flu. Or more specifically, let's talk about ILI — #influenza-like illnesses. Those are cold & flu-like ailments caused by a stew of viruses: influenza, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, parainfluenza, human coronaviruses & respiratory syncytial virus — RSV.
2. @CDCgov releases its weekly #flu updates Friday morning. This week's (covering Aug. 22-28) showed there is more ILI activity now (red arrow) than there was at any point last winter during the traditional cold and flu season. Does that mean flu has returned? In a word, no.
3. I assume different parts of the country may be seeing different combos of bugs, but here's what's being seen in Utah, from Intermountain Healthcare's GermWatch. Lots of rhinoviruses (the most common cause of the common cold) & RSV. No flu or human CoVs. intermountainhealthcare.org/health-informa…
4. Who is getting sick? According to the @CDCgov it is mostly very young children, kids 4 and younger.
5. Two states — Georgia and New Mexico — reported high levels of ILIs, which is quite uncommon at this time of year. Normally this map from @CDCgov's FluView would be mostly green at this time, as you can see from the image on the right, this time in 2018-19. Left = last week.
6. #Flu activity remains low globally, the @WHO reported earlier this week.
It won't stay that way. Whether it's this winter or the one after, flu will return, likely with a vengeance, experts fear. Best to get a flu jab. But wait a bit. @CDCgov advises you get one by late Oct.

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More from @HelenBranswell

13 Sep
1. Some unsettling #rabies exposure stories in a post from the invaluable @ProMED_mail tonight.
Some people in RI were feeding a raccoon that later testing showed was infected with rabies.
People: Do not feed raccoons. They do not need your help. local21news.com/newsletter-dai…
2. A grey cat that was hanging around a campground in Frederick County, Md, tested positive for #rabies. There were reports the cat was biting & scratching people between Aug 24 & Sept 3. People exposed or people whose pets were exposed to the cat should contact their MD or vet.
3. A link to the cat story here.
Important to know: #Rabies is fatal without quick post-exposure treatment. wfmd.com/2021/09/08/cat…
Read 4 tweets
10 Sep
1. Being as it's Friday, there will be a #flu update from @CDCgov later this morning. I'll add to this when it comes out.
Just looking at the weekly Covid & #influenza report from @PHE_uk. In a normal flu season, one might see a little flu activity in early Sept. Nope. Image
2. @CDCgov's FluView is up. Actual confirmed cases of #flu remain very low. There is, however, a fair amount of influenza-like illness, or ILI, activity. The report suggests it may have plateaued among 0-4 & 5-24 yr olds. Will be interesting to watch this, now that school is in. Image
3. @CDCgov reports another 2 cases of infection with swine #flu viruses have been detected, both in Iowa. Neither was sick enough to need hospital care; both recovered. Both had traceable links to pigs. Image
Read 7 tweets
30 Aug
1. #ACIP meets today. I'll be tweeting on the meeting in this thread.
When it was first announced, this was going to be a 2-day meeting; now only 1.
If you want to listen to the meeting, you can do so from here: video.ibm.com/channel/VWBXKB…
2. Contrary to popular opinion, this #ACIP meeting isn't primarily about whether Americans who got mRNA vaccines need a 3rd dose starting in Sept., as per the policy announced by the Biden administration. Only 45 minutes of the 6.5 hour meeting has been set aside for boosters.
3. Why so little discussion about boosters? Not a lot of data at this point.
Pfizer only recently applied to @US_FDA for a 3rd shot; Moderna hasn't yet applied. #ACIP will review the data Pfizer submitted to FDA when it becomes available to ACIP, chair Grace Lee told me.
Read 36 tweets
17 Aug
1. The last couple of days have been so busy I haven't updated on #Ebole in Côte d'Ivoire. Here goes:
At present there is 1 confirmed case, a young woman who travelled by bus (buses?) from Guinea to Abidjan. There is also a suspect case. I'd bet that's a case.
2. @WHOAFRO says there are also 9 contacts who've been identified and are being monitored. I would be surprised if that total doesn't change a lot. This woman had a long journey & at a point was on a bus with 70 people. This is likely a complex investigation.
3. I was told just now by @WHO that there still isn't confirmation of the species of #Ebola involved. Not sure why that isn't known yet. The working assumption has to be that it's Ebola Zaire because they are using vaccines that target the Zaire species. Won't work for others.
Read 5 tweets
14 Aug
1. A short thread about the newly announced case of #Ebola in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
The diagnosis was confirmed by the Institut Pasteur in Cote d'Ivoire. This does not have the feel of a suspect case — the announcement sounds like @WHOAFRO is confident this is Ebola.
2. A critical point made by @MoetiTshidi, regional director of @WHOAFRO, is that this is the first time since 2014 that an #Ebola cases has been diagnosed in a major city. (I need to refresh my memory about the North Kivu outbreak.) Abidjan population: +4M.
Urban Ebola = not good
3. The @WHOAFRO statement says there's no indication this case, a man who traveled from Guinea, was linked to the Guinean #Ebola outbreak from earlier this year. Work is underway to determine the source of infection.
Read 6 tweets
13 Aug
1. #ACIP is meeting now to vote on a recommendation that some severely immunocompromised people be given a 3rd dose of mRNA vaccine in their primary series, because they do not get enough protection from 2 doses. FDA cleared the way for this LATE last night.
I will be tweeting.
2. Here's the story we published last night about this change to the EUAs for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The 3rd dose should be given at least 28 days after the 2nd dose in the series.
No change was made to the 1 dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
3. #ACIP has a new chair today. Grace Lee from Stanford takes over from José Romero, Arkansas' health secretary.
The committee is down 3 members today. The term of 3 previous members expired but 3 replacements haven't yet been "onboarded" -- which I think is a paperwork thing.
Read 43 tweets

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