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Issue Number 161            May 8, 2000

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. CDC publishes update on influenza activity, 1999-2000
  2. Employment opportunities! IAC is looking for a few talented people to help spread the word about the importance of immunization

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(1)
May 5, 2000
CDC PUBLISHES UPDATE ON INFLUENZA ACTIVITY, 1999-2000

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an article titled "Update: Influenza Activity--United States and Worldwide, 1999-2000 Season, and Composition of the 2000-01 Influenza Vaccine" in the May 5, 2000, issue of the MMWR. This article summarizes worldwide surveillance for influenza during the 1999-2000 season, describes the 2000-01 influenza vaccine, and highlights changes in recommendations for the prevention and control of influenza.

1. SUMMARY OF WORLDWIDE INFLUENZA ACTIVITY, 1999-2000
    SEASON

The introduction to this MMWR article reads in part: "Influenza A (H3N2) viruses were the predominant viruses isolated in the United States and worldwide during 1999-2000. This was the third consecutive year that influenza A/Sydney/05/97-like (H3N2) viruses were the most prevalent viruses isolated in the United States. Influenza activity in the United States was similar to the previous two seasons, although mortality measurements attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) were unusually high. Overall, the 1999-2000 influenza vaccine was well matched to circulating influenza viruses."

The body of the article notes that in the United States, "Influenza activity began to increase in mid-December 1999 and peaked during the weeks ending December 25, 1999 (week 51), and January 15, 2000 (week 2)." The article also notes that "moderate to severe influenza outbreaks were reported in the Americas, Asia, and Europe" from October 3, 1999, through April 28, 2000.

2. COMPOSITION OF THE 2000-01 INFLUENZA VACCINE

The section of this MMWR article titled "Composition of the 2000-01 Influenza Vaccine" reads in part: "The Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biologic Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) recommended A/New Caledonia/20/99-like (H1N1), A/Panama/2007/99-like (H3N2), and B/Yamanashi/166/98-like viruses for the 2000-01 U.S. trivalent influenza vaccine. This recommendation was based on antigenic and molecular analyses of recently isolated influenza viruses, epidemiologic data, and postvaccination serologic studies in humans."

3. CHANGES IN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PREVENTION AND
    CONTROL OF INFLUENZA

The MMWR article's "Editorial Note" reads in part: "Beginning with the 2000-01 influenza season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all persons aged greater than or equal to 50 years receive annual influenza vaccination. This recommendation reduces the age for annual universal vaccination from 65 years to 50 years. The policy change was made to increase influenza vaccination among persons aged 50-64 years because a substantial proportion of persons in this age group (24%-32%) have chronic medical conditions that place them at high risk for influenza-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination levels of high-risk persons aged 50-64 years have been low, and age-based vaccination strategies have been more successful than risk-based vaccination strategies. No other changes have been made to the list of groups targeted for influenza vaccination. However, ACIP also recommended that persons planning large organized vaccination campaigns may consider scheduling these events after mid-October because the availability of vaccine in any location cannot be assured consistently in the early fall.

"...In tropical regions, influenza viruses may circulate year-round. During the past two summers, large outbreaks of respiratory disease attributed to influenza occurred among persons traveling in organized overland groups and among passengers on cruise ships in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Influenza outbreaks aboard cruise ships also have been reported during other times of the year worldwide. Persons at high risk for complications of influenza who will be traveling in large tour groups this summer (1) should consider receiving influenza vaccine if not vaccinated during the preceding fall or winter; and (2) might wish to consult their physicians to discuss the symptoms and risks for influenza and the advisability of carrying antiviral medications for either prophylaxis or treatment of influenza."

To obtain the complete text version (HTML format) of this MMWR article, complete with figures, go to:  http://www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4917a5.htm

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT INFLUENZA VIRUS AND VACCINE:
For more information about influenza prevention and control, visit CDC's website at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/fluvirus.htm

HOW TO OBTAIN A FREE ELECTRONIC SUBSCRIPTION TO THE MMWR:
To obtain a free electronic subscription to the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" (MMWR), visit CDC's MMWR website at: http://www2.cdc.gov/mmwr Select "Free MMWR Subscription" from the menu at the left of the screen. Once you have submitted the required information, weekly issues of the MMWR and all new ACIP statements (published as MMWR's "Recommendations and Reports") will arrive automatically by e-mail.
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(2)
May 8, 2000
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES! IAC IS LOOKING FOR A FEW TALENTED PEOPLE TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF IMMUNIZATION

Are you--or is anyone you know--interested in joining a group of dedicated and high-spirited professionals at an award-winning, national nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating immunization information? If your answer is "YES!" then visit the website of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) to find out more about our available positions. Brief descriptions of each position can be found by clicking on the links in the "What's New" column on IAC's home page at: http://www.immunize.org

 

Immunization Action Coalition1573 Selby AvenueSt. Paul MN 55104
E-mail: admin@immunize.org Web: http://www.immunize.org/
Tel: (651) 647-9009Fax: (651) 647-9131

This page was updated on May 8, 2000