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U.S. Flu Season Milder Than in Previous Seasons

As for Avian flu, there were a total of 319 cases reported in Africa and Asia

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza activity in the 2006-2007 season peaked in the United States in February this year, and was characterized by milder infections with lower rates of mortality and pediatric hospitalizations compared with the previous three seasons, according to a report published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. As for avian influenza A (H5N1), there were 319 cases in Asia and Africa, of which 60 percent were fatal.

In the United States there were 23,753 influenza cases, of which 18,817 (79.2 percent) were influenza A viruses, and 4,936 (20.8 percent) were influenza B viruses. Pediatric hospitalizations for influenza were lower than in previous years.

From October 2006 to April 2007, the preliminary influenza-associated hospitalization rates for children aged up to 4 years, and 5-17 years, were 1.62 per 10,000 and 0.23 per 10,000, respectively. During the 2005-2006 season, the rates were 2.8 per 10,000 children and 0.4 per 10,000 children, respectively.

Avian flu cases were reported in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Thailand, Turkey, Viet Nam, Djibouti, Egypt and Nigeria.

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

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