Joint Annual European Influenza Surveillance Meeting
The fourth joint annual influenza surveillance meeting by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and WHO Regional Office for Europe took place from 11 to 13 June 2014 in Vienna, Austria. Its participants were epidemiological and virological surveillance experts nominated by national health authorities as well as representatives from international institutions, covering 53 countries of the EU/EEA and WHO European region. The meeting was by invitation only.
It focused on new developments in influenza surveillance at the country and regional level, seasonal influenza vaccination programmes, and discussed the global influenza situation with regards to outbreaks of avian influenza. The main areas of discussion included assessment of the 2013-14 influenza season, streamlining of indicators for reporting and reporting of severe cases, as well as vaccine update and effectiveness:• During the 2013-14 season, A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses co-dominated the circulation with a fairly close match to the vaccine strains. Strain-based reporting of viruses was piloted within TESSy and the network agreed to expand the reporting to all countries. Based on a review of the surveillance data, the network agreed to streamline the collected variables to reflect the surveillance objectives and to focus on sentinel surveillance data. • Reporting of severe influenza cases should focus on patients admitted to intensive care units, preferably with a comparable denominator. In addition to data from primary and secondary care, influenza-attributable excess mortality can help to better estimate the burden of the disease.• Variation in seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in risk groups including the elderly was reported with only a handful of countries reaching the 75% EU target in the elderly. Overall influenza vaccine effectiveness during the last six winter seasons ranged from 40-70%, with best effectiveness observed in healthy adults. First experiences from pediatric influenza programmes in Belarus, Finland and the UK were presented, pointing to reductions in virus transmission. Health economic data were also presented, showing cost-effectiveness of such vaccination in different models before implementation.
As underscored by the host, the Ministry of Health of Austria, the close collaboration between WHO/Europe and ECDC is essential in order to ensure that countries are provided with the best available data, tools and analysis to effectively respond to influenza and other respiratory viruses.A crucial step taken in order to further enhance the joint WHO/Europe and ECDC collaboration is the decision to publish a single joint influenza surveillance weekly bulletin for the entire EU/EEA and wider European region for the 2014/15 influenza season.
E-learning course on how to increase influenza vaccination uptake
25 Oct 2017 - It is important that healthcare workers (HCWs) get vaccinated against seasonal influenza since they can get influenza from, and transmit influenza to, patients and other HCWs. This e-learning course has been developed since seasonal influenza vaccination of HCWs is recommended in Europe but vaccination uptake remains low in most countries. It provides information about how to assess the uptake and barriers to vaccination, as well as examples of successful campaigns that have increased the vaccination among HCWs. The target audience is public health professionals who organize vaccination campaigns for HCWs.
ERS Training Course: Acute respiratory pandemics: how to plan and manage
9 Nov 2017 to 11 Nov 2017 - This practical course will cover outbreak investigation, pandemic planning, recent developments in respiratory pathogen biology and therapy, and will focus around two practical scenarios in which participants will gain experience in managing an acute epidemic.