MMWR News Synopsis for December 7, 2017
Update: Influenza Activity in the United States
Since influenza activity is just beginning to increase, receiving influenza vaccine at this time should still offer substantial public health benefit. Health care providers should recommend influenza vaccine now and throughout the influenza season to all unvaccinated people 6 months and older who do not have contraindications. Prescription antiviral medications can treat influenza illness and are recommended for use in patients who are very sick with influenza or who are sick and at high risk of serious influenza complications. Influenza antiviral drugs can lessen duration and severity of illness and help prevent more severe illness. Influenza activity in the United States remained low during October 2017 but has been increasing since early November with influenza A (H3N2) viruses being most frequently identified. Almost all influenza viruses collected so far are similar to the cell-derived reference viruses representing 2017–18 season influenza vaccines. Annual vaccination varies in its effectiveness but it is the best available method for preventing influenza and its complications. Since the 2017-18 influenza season is just beginning, receiving an influenza vaccine now should still offer substantial public health benefit. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Influenza antiviral treatment, an adjunct to vaccination, can lessen duration and severity of illness. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of illness.
Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis, January 2016–June 2017
With only 25 Dracunculiasis cases in humans reported in 2016, the goal of eradicating Guinea worm disease appears to be on the horizon. However, infections in dogs and insecurity in Mali and South Sudan remain challenges to eradication efforts. Dracunculiasis, also known as Guinea worm disease, is a parasitic infection targeted for global eradication. Annual cases declined from about 3.5 million in 20 countries in 1986 to just 25 in 2016 from only 19 villages in Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. In Chad, dog infections have far outnumbered human cases since 2012. In the first 6 months of 2017, however, there were fewer dog infections in Chad compared with the same period in 2016. While the world is closer than ever to Guinea worm eradication, infections in dogs and insecurity in Mali and South Sudan continue to be a challenge.