Influenza surveillance for the 2017-2018 season is starting
ECDC monitors and reports on influenza transmission and virus circulation in Europe on a weekly basis throughout the flu season, in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe, in the report Flu News Europe. Now the surveillance season is starting.
ECDC monitors and reports on influenza transmission and virus circulation in Europe on a weekly basis throughout the flu season, in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe, in the report Flu News Europe. The weekly monitoring for the European influenza season started last week (data from week 40) and runs until week 20/2018.
As expected, the first reports show low influenza activity in the European region. However, due to the diversity of A(H3N2) influenza viruses that circulated during the 2017 southern hemisphere season, WHO recently recommended a change of the A(H3N2) component for inclusion in seasonal influenza vaccines for use in the 2018 southern hemisphere influenza season. In addition, the influenza B lineage in trivalent vaccines was changed (to a B/Yamagata-lineage virus), compared to the vaccine component (a B/Victoria-lineage virus) recommended for 2017-2018 northern hemisphere influenza seasons (1).
Vaccination is the most effective form of influenza prevention. However, antivirals can be useful when the vaccine is less than optimally effective especially to treat patients with severe influenza or those at high risk of the complications of influenza. A new ECDC infographic explains how antivirals treat and protect against influenza. The recommendations to treat patients with severe influenza are based on the evidence from randomised controlled trials, observational studies, extrapolation from studies, and that these medicines have generally mild side-effects (2).
Influenza is a preventable infectious disease with mostly respiratory symptoms. It is caused by influenza virus and is easily transmitted. Influenza viruses infect on average 18% of unvaccinated people each winter and on average 15 000 - 95 000 people die each year from influenza in EU/EEA countries (3-4). Despite the often short duration of illness, the yearly economic and healthcare burden of influenza is substantial (5).
Influenza season 2016-2017
Influenza in Europe, Season 2016–2017
Influenza intensity reported during the season. Circulating viruses. Influenza trend.Read more
Epidemiological update: Review of influenza season 2016–2017 in the EU/EEA
The influenza season 2016–2017 has now come to an end in Europe. In week 17/2017, all EU/EEA countries reported low influenza activity and the positivity rate (proportion of influenza virus positives among all tested specimens) falling below the 10% benchmark to 9.9%. For the previous six weeks, almost all EU/EEA countries had reported low influenza activity.Read more
Read more about influenza
Seasonal influenza is a preventable infectious disease with mostly respiratory symptoms. It is caused by influenza virus and is easily transmitted, predominantly via the droplet and contact routes and by indirect spread from respiratory secretions on hands etc.Read more
Surveillance reports and disease data on seasonal influenza
Surveillance reports and data: Disease data from ECDC Surveillance Atlas, Annual Epidemiological Reports, Surveillance reports.Read more
Flu News Europe: Weekly influenza update
In collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe, ECDC monitors and reports on influenza activity in Europe on a weekly basis throughout the flu season.Read more
Prevention and control of seasonal influenza
Seasonal influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease that each year infects approximately 10 to 30 % of Europe's population, and causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalisations across Europe. Vaccination is the most effective form of influenza prevention. Apart from vaccination and antiviral treatment the public health management includes personal protective measures.Read more
Facts about influenza vaccination
Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease and influenza vaccines have been available for use in Europe since the 1960s. A number of variants of the influenza viruses co-circulate each year. Immunity to the infecting influenza virus type develops following a natural influenza infection. However, there is little cross-immunity between influenza types/subtypes or lineages. This is why several influenza strains must be included into combination vaccines.Read more