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About the Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses Programme

(Acting) Head of Programme : Pasi Penttinen
Programme Manager: Brenna Deckert

The programme covers the three groups of influenza affecting humans:

  • Seasonal influenza;
  • Pandemic viruses;
  • Animal influenzas;

Other respiratory viruses are also covered, as are related areas such as surveillance, pandemic preparedness & response, prevention, virology and laboratory issues, influenza vaccination and use of antivirals for public health purposes.

The programme works within ECDC's matrix structure by drawing on different areas of expertise from within ECDC, including:
  • Surveillance, virology and epidemiology;
  • Animal health and veterinary science;
  • Behavioural science and communication;
  • Epidemic intelligence;
  • Epidemiology;
  • Training;
  • Health economics;
  • Programme monitoring;
  • Health planning;
  • Pandemic and general preparedness;
  • Vaccines and vaccinology including monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness;
  • Contributing to safety studies.

This is complemented by essential contributions from many external experts, public health institutes, academic groups and specialised organisations in the European Union and EEA, and from further afield.

In Europe, partners include The European Commission (SANCO & DG Research); the European Parliament and the Council; the WHO Regional office for Europe; the European Vaccine Manufacturers orgnisation; the European Medicines Agency; the European Food Safety Authority; and European professional societies like the European Respiratory Society and the European Society for Intensive Care Medicine. The programme works closely with the WHO Regional Office for Europe on influenza. It also works with WHO more generally in areas like pandemic preparedness, global surveillance and influenza vaccines where the lead is with WHO Headquarters in Geneva.
The Programme collaborates with several institutions beyond Europe, especially other national centres of disease control, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, China CDC, and a number of international scientific bodies, notably the International Society for Influenza and other Respiratory Virus Diseases.


The Programme aims to support European Bodies and Member States in the enactment of European Council Recommendations and Communications on seasonal influenza immunisation and pandemic preparedness so that Europe achieves:

  • a decrease in morbidity and mortality due to seasonal influenza, especially through increased national and individual use of immunisation and better use of personal health measures;
  • improved preparedness for a pandemic at regional (European), Member State and local level, drawing on guidance from WHO and lessons learnt from the 2009 pandemic;
  • a robust scientific base for the mitigation of influenza in Europe, including a balanced and relevant research programme.

A range of activities directed towards achieving these targets are ongoing or have been planned as part of the ECDC multi-annual strategic work plan. Specific objectives and outputs can be seen in the ECDC annual workplans.


Outputs of the Programme are publicly available on the ECDC website at the relevant health topics. Such outputs include, among others:

  • The Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview (WISO)
  • Monthly influenza virus characterisation reports for Europe
  • Risk assessments
  • Surveillance reports
  • Guidance documents
  • Scientific advances
  • Public health developments
  • Scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals
ECDC surveillance outputs contribute to WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISN), which ECDC supports.
Readers can also subscribe to the Influenza Digest Mailing List that provides influenza news and disseminates all the scientific and public health outputs of ECDC concerning influenza, by sending an email to
The programme supports the Member States and the European Commission with information from event-based surveillance (Epidemic Intelligence) and indicator-based surveillance.
Extensive epidemiological and public health information, guidance and relevant documents can be found in the areas dedicated to influenza on the ECDC website.


To contact the influenza programme, please email:

© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) 2005 - 2015