Global influenza activity: the trends, changes, and predictions you need to know
Are you ready for more active and severe flu seasons?
Through our global disease surveillance engine and in-house epidemiology expertise, BlueDot takes a detailed look at the global 2021/2022 influenza season and shares opinions on global trends and activity, including predictions for the 2022/2023 season.
Rising Activity & Longer Seasons
Global influenza activity in the 2021/2022 season has increased compared to last year, though it remains lower than historical pre-pandemic levels. Lower levels are likely due to public health measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19. As these measures lift, activity is expected to increase. Locations within tropical South America are already nearing pre-pandemic levels (i.e., 2018-2019) of influenza activity. In the U.S., many states are seeing an increase in positive test rates outside of the typical season, signaling a longer flu season. U.S. influenza test positivity values in Epi week 14 (early April) were 9.15% in 2022, compared to under 0.08% in 2021.
Subtype Shift from Influenza B to Influenza A
The predominant subtype of influenza globally is shifting from Influenza B to Influenza A subtypes, however there is still variation at a country-level as shown in the figure below. Brazil, Pakistan, Kenya, and Argentina have reported the largest seasonal change. Influenza A, particularly A(H3N2) is associated with greater severity, higher disease burden, and reduced vaccine effectiveness.
Source: 2021-2022 Global Influenza Trends & Future Outlook report, BlueDot
2023 Global Influenza predictions
Public health officials, corporations, and individuals should prepare for greater influenza activity and more severe outcomes in the 2022/2023 season.
To prepare for more severe and active influenza seasons, we recommend organizations and public health officials start by:
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