CDC verdict on 2005-06 flu season: mild

first_imgJun 15, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the 2005-06 influenza season was milder than the previous several seasons and had an unusually late peak.From Oct 2, 2005, through May 20, 2006, US laboratories involved in official flu surveillance tested 139,647 patient specimens for flu viruses, and 17,414 (12.5%) were positive, the CDC said in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Of these, 14,093 (80.9%) were influenza A viruses, and 3,321 (19.1%) were influenza B viruses.In today’s report, the CDC lists the following indications of a relatively mild flu season:The proportion of specimens testing positive for influenza peaked at 23% in Dec 2005, compared with peak proportions of 23.2% to 41.0% in the previous five flu seasons.The highest weekly percentage of visits to “sentinel” healthcare providers for influenza-like illness was 3.3%, compared with a range of 3.2% to 7.6% in the previous five seasons.At the seasonal peak, the week ending Mar 11, 2006, 41 states reported regional or widespread influenza activity. This compares with 45 to 50 states in the previous five flu seasons.The percentage of weekly deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza never exceeded the CDC’s epidemic threshold, peaking twice at 7.8%. During the previous five seasons, the total number of weeks above the epidemic threshold ranged from 4 to 16, and the peak percentage ranged from 8.1% to 10.4%.This season’s peak week, in March, came substantially later than the peak periods in the previous five seasons, which ranged from early December to late February, according to the report.However, the number of weeks during which 10% or more of specimens tested positive was particularly high this past flu season. The season saw 18 consecutive weeks at that level, compared with 11 to 15 weeks in the previous five seasons.The CDC also reports that 35 children died of flu-related causes in 13 states during the season. This compares with 39 pediatric deaths in 17 states during the 2004-05 flu season and 152 such deaths in 40 states in 2003-04. Pediatric statistics were not given in the CDC’s year-end reports immediately preceding those.Of the 5,661 influenza A viruses that were subtyped, 5,231 (92.4%) were H3N2 strains and 430 (7.6%) were H1N1. And although type A viruses predominated overall, influenza B was more common in specimens from late April through May.(In Europe, influenza B predominated. In Asia, influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B predominated, while Africa reported low levels of influenza A and B, according to the report.)Also, circulating virus strains matched the 2005-06 vaccine quite well, the report said. Most influenza A subtypes matched the two vaccine strains. And in the early months of the season, the influenza B subtype matched as well.The US Food and Drug Administration has recommended that the 2006-07 trivalent vaccine contain different influenza B and influenza A (H3N2) components, the report notes. The recommended virus subtypes for the coming season’s vaccine are A/New Caledonia/20/99-like (H1N1), A/Wisconsin/67/2005-like (H3N2), and B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like.The report also says the past flu season was notable in that H3N2 viruses developed a high level of resistance to the antiviral drugs amantadine and rimantadine (the adamantanes). Because of this, the CDC in January recommended not using these drugs for flu prevention or treatment for the rest of the season.This high resistance to the adamantanes among circulating H3N2 viruses continued through May, the report states.CDC. Update: influenza activity—United States and worldwide, 2005-06 season, and composition of the 2006-07 influenza vaccine. MMWR 2006 Jun 16;55(23):648-52 [Full text]See also:March 1 CIDRAP News story: “Two new strains to be used in 2006-07 flu vaccine”CDC influenza activity site read more

Outgoing USCAA Board of Governors president named USC Trustee

first_imgCancer researcher and the soon to be former president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors Amy Ross was elected to the Board of Trustees on Wednesday.A first generation college student, Ross attended California State University, Northridge before receiving her Ph.D. in experimental pathology from the Keck School of Medicine in 1986.Following her graduation from Keck, Ross became a technician in the pathology department at Keck. She then went on to become a senior vice president at Nexell Therapeutics and served as a biologist at the California Institute of Technology.“Quite honestly, if it hadn’t been for the wonderful education I received at USC, I would not have had this career,” Ross told USC Trojan Family in 2014.In addition to her career in pathology, Ross has been a champion for LGBT rights at USC and in the outside community. Ross was one of the founding members of the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association in 1992, the university’s first alumni group of its kind, aimed at connecting and supporting LGBT students and alumni. Through the Lambda Alumni Association, Ross also endowed a scholarship in 2000, now called the Amy Ross Scholarship in LGBT Health Studies, intended for students who have shown a commitment to LGBT health and wellness.During her time as the president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors, Ross focused on contributing to the $6 billion Campaign for USC through scholarships. She also aimed to broaden the alumni network and reach out to other universities to compare ideas on how to improve the alumni experience.Ross is also a member of many other campus organizations, including the USC Trojan Society of Hospitals, Women of Troy and Town and Gown of USC.As a trustee, she plans to focus on aiding USC in the university’s efforts to improve its standing in academic and research communities.“USC has supported me throughout my career,” Ross told USC News. “I’m just paying a little of that back.”President C. L. Max Nikias said that Ross’ many years of dedication to the university will make her a valuable addition to the board of trustees.“Amy Ross has been an exceptional leader for the USC community and a passionate supporter of our Trojan Family,” Nikias told USC News. “Her expertise and tireless dedication to the university will be invaluable to me and our Board of Trustees, and I am certain USC will benefit tremendously from her singular ability to build relationships and strengthen connections among our community.”last_img read more