Large Summertime Influenza A Outbreak among Tourists in Alaska and the Yukon Territory

Uyeki, Timothy M.; Zane, Suzanne B.; Bodnar, Ulana R.; Fielding, Katherine L.; Buxton, Jane A.; Miller, Joy M.; Beller, Michael; Butler, Jay C.; Fukuda, Keiji; Maloney, Susan A.; Cetron, Martin S.
May 2003
Clinical Infectious Diseases;5/1/2003, Vol. 36 Issue 9, p1095
Academic Journal
We investigated a large summertime outbreak of acute respiratory illness during May-September 1998 in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, Canada. Surveillance for acute respiratory illness (ARI), influenza-like illness (ILI), and pneumonia conducted at 31 hospital, clinic, and cruise ship infirmary sites identified 5361 cases of ARI (including 2864 cases of ILI [53] and 171 cases of pneumonia [3.2]) occurring primarily in tourists and tourism workers (from 18 and 37 countries, respectively). Influenza A viruses were isolated from 41 of 210 patients with ILI at 8 of 14 land sites and 8 of 17 cruise ship infirmaries. Twenty-two influenza isolates were antigenically characterized, and all were influenza A/Sydney/05/97--like (H3N2) viruses. No other predominant pathogens were identified. We estimated that > 33,000 cases of ARI might have occurred during this protracted outbreak, which was attributed primarily to influenza A/Sydney/05/97-like (H3N2) viruses. Modern travel patterns may facilitate similar outbreaks, indicating the need for increased awareness about influenza by health care providers and travelers and the desirability of year-round influenza surveillance in some regions.


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