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CDC Reports Mild Flu Season, But Virus Still Circulating

Avian flu continues to spread worldwide

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although the United States had a mild influenza season in 2005-2006, the flu virus remains active, and the so-called avian flu (H5N1) virus is still spreading across other parts of the world, according to a report in the June 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that flu activity reached its height in the United States in March, but did not achieve epidemic levels. Influenza A (H3N2) virus was most common in the United States, but influenza B was detected more often later in the spring.

Worldwide, influenza B viruses predominated in Europe, but both A (H1N1) and B viruses surfaced in Asia.

Meanwhile, influenza A (H5N1) had surfaced in migratory birds or poultry in Africa, Asia, and Europe by mid-June, moving with the migration of birds from Asia. Although there is still no sign of sustained human-to-human spread of the virus, it has happened in rare instances, according to the researchers.

"In collaboration with local and state health departments, CDC continues to recommend enhanced surveillance for possible influenza A (H5N1) infection among travelers with severe unexplained respiratory illness returning from influenza A (H5N1)-affected countries," the authors write.

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