During week 52/2011 (26 Dec 2011 - 1 Jan 2012) the annual seasonal influenza began in some countries in Europe though intensity remains low as yet in all countries reporting.
Of 380 sentinel specimens collected during week 52/2011, 23.4% tested positive for influenza viruses, more than double the percentage reported in week 51. This influenza season is characterised by the dominance of A(H3N2) viruses though A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are significant among the severe cases reported. Further information can be found in ECDC’s Weekly influenza surveillance overview and the the ECDC/CNRL Report on Influenza virus characterisation, December 2011.
To date most viruses detected have been of the A(H3) type with only a few of the A(H1)pdm09 type from the pandemic although they remain a significant number of the severe cases reported. The match with the current vaccine strains is reasonable and though the numbers tested are limited there is little indication of antiviral resistance to oseltamivir or zanamivir.
In addition, following reports of a human fatality due to avian influenza (A(H5N1)) in China’s Guangdong province, the European Commission requested an assessment of risk of human-to-human transmission. ECDC does not consider there is any change to the previous assessments that the risk for EU/EEA countries is very low.
ECDC Director’s statement on influenza, 16 December
ECDC’s Seasonal influenza web pages
ECDC Risk Assessment on Seasonal influenza 2010-2011