Global flu activity less than expected for this time of year, WHO says

Influenza activity is at lower levels than expected for this time of the year in both hemispheres, the World Health Organization reports.

Flu centers and laboratories from 52 countries, areas or territories reported data to FluNet, a global web-based tool for flu surveillance, from Aug. 17 to Aug. 30.

Analysis of more than 1.4 million specimens during that time period shows that 34 were positive for flu viruses, of which 19 (55.9 percent) were typed as influenza A and 15 (44.1 percent) as influenza B.

The report also found that in the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season has not started, and in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere, flu activity remained below levels typically reported between flu seasons.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced flu activity across the globe. Hygiene and physical distancing measures implemented to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus "have likely played a role" in reducing flu virus transmission, the report states.

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