FluWatch report: August 24 to September 6, 2014 (Weeks 35 and 36)

Overall summary

  • Influenza activity in Canada remains at inter-seasonal levels with only sporadic detections of influenza.
  • In weeks 35 and 36 no outbreaks or hospitalizations were reported.
  • This is the first FluWatch report of the 2014-15 influenza season.

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Date published: 2014-09-04

Are you a primary health care practitioner (General Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse) interested in becoming a FluWatch sentinel for the 2014-15 influenza season? Contact us at FluWatch@phac-aspc.gc.ca

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Influenza/ILI Activity (geographic spread)

In weeks 35 and 36, most regions in Canada reported no influenza/ILI activity. During these two weeks, one region in Quebec reported sporadic activity; and in week 36, two other regions (BC(1) and ON(1)) reported sporadic activity (Figure 1). In week 35, six regions did not report data, and in week 36, one region did not report.

Figure 1. Map of overall influenza/ILI activity level by province and territory, Canada, Week 36

Figure 1
Figure 1 Legend

Note: Influenza/ILI activity levels, as represented on this map, are assigned and reported by Provincial and Territorial Ministries of Health, based on laboratory confirmations, sentinel ILI rates and reported outbreaks. Please refer to detailed definitions at the end of the report. Maps from previous weeks, including any retrospective updates, are available on the Flu Activity website.

   Figure 1 Map of overall influenza/ILI activity level by province and territory, Canada, Week 30 - Text Description

In week 36, three regions (BC(1), ON(1) and QC(1)) reported sporadic activity. No data was reported for one region (PE).

Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Detections

The number of positive influenza tests continued at inter-seasonal levels in week 35 (5 detections) and week 36 (4 detections), with <1% of tests positive since early July (Figure 2). Most jurisdictions have reported only sporadic numbers of influenza detections in recent weeks (Table 1, Table 2).

Figure 2. Number of positive influenza tests and percentage of tests positive, by type, subtype and report week, Canada, 2014-15

Figure 2
   Figure 2 Number of positive influenza tests and percentage of tests positive, by type, subtype and report week, Canada, 2014-15 - Text Description

The number of positive influenza tests continued at inter-seasonal levels in week 35 (5 detections) and week 36 (4 detections), with <1% of tests positive since early July.

In weeks 35 and 36, detections of most other respiratory viruses were at inter-seasonal levels (RSV, coronavirus, and human metapneumovirus). Detections of parainfluenza, adenovirus and rhinovirus were in keeping with their usual pattern of seasonal circulation (figure 3).

For more details, see the weekly Respiratory Virus Detections in Canada Report.

Figure 3. Number of positive laboratory tests for other respiratory viruses by report week, Canada, 2014-15

Figure 3
RSV: Respiratory syncytial virus; hMPV: Human metapneumovirus
   Figure 3 Number of positive laboratory tests for other respiratory viruses by report week, Canada, 2014-15 - Text Description

In weeks 35 and 36, detections of most other respiratory viruses were at inter-seasonal levels (RSV, coronavirus, and human metapneumovirus). Detections of parainfluenza, adenovirus and rhinovirus were in keeping with their usual pattern of seasonal circulation.

Table 1: Weekly and cumulative numbers of positive influenza specimens by type, subtype and province, Canada, 2014-15
Reporting provincesFootnote 1 Two weeks (August 24 to September 6, 2014) Cumulative (August 24 to September 6, 2014)
Influenza A B Influenza A B
A Total A(H1)pdm09 A(H3) A Footnote (Uns) B Total A Total A(H1)pdm09 A(H3) A(UnS) B Total
BC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
AB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
SK 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
ON 2 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 1 1
QC 3 0 0 3 3 3 0 0 3 3
NB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 5 0 1 4 4 5 0 1 4 4
Percentage Footnote 2 55.6% 0.0% 20.0% 80.0% 44.4% 55.6% 0.0% 20.0% 80.0% 44.4%

Table 2. Weekly and cumulative numbers of positive influenza specimens by type, subtype and age-group reported through case-based laboratory reporting

Data suppressed for the 2014-15 season due to small values. Table 2 will be updated when additional data are received.

Influenza Strain Characterizations

The National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) has not yet reported any influenza strain characterizations for the 2014-15 season (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Influenza strain characterizations, Canada, 2014-2015, N = 0

The National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) has not yet conducted antigenic characterization of influenza viruses collected during the 2014-15 season.

The NML receives a proportion of the number of influenza positive specimens from provincial laboratories for strain characterization and antiviral resistance testing. Characterization data reflect the results of haemagglutination inhibition (HAI) testing compared to the reference influenza strains recommended by WHO.

The recommended components for the 2014-2015 northern hemisphere trivalent influenza vaccine include: an A/California/7/2009(H1N1)pdm09-like virus, an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus (Yamagata lineage). For quadrivalent vaccines, the addition of a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus is recommended.