Respiratory tract infections - Annual epidemiological report for 2012-13

surveillance report
Publication series: Annual Epidemiological Report on Communicable Diseases in Europe
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 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Annual epidemiological report 2014 – Respiratory tract infections. Stockholm: ECDC; 2014.

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The Annual Epidemiological Report 2014 gives an overview of the epidemiology of communicable diseases of public health significance in Europe, drawn from surveillance information on the 52 communicable diseases and health issues for which surveillance is mandatory in the European Union and European Economic Area countries. ​The respiratory tract infections chapter from the upcoming ECDC Annual Epidemiological Report 2014 is now available as a separate report and provides a snapshot of the epidemiological situation in Europe across a number of diseases.

Executive summary

For seasonal influenza and other respiratory viruses, an overview of the 2012-2013 season in Europe reaches the following conclusions:

  • Overall, the 2012-2013 influenza season lasted as long as previous seasons and was particularly long in a number of EU/EEA countries.
  • The percentage of positive laboratory tests for influenza was much higher than in previous seasons.
  • A heterogeneous distribution of influenza viruses was observed across Europe. In countries reporting severe influenza cases, the prevalence of influenza A viruses was much higher than in primary care settings.
  • Vaccine effectiveness estimated by different studies was considered low or moderate.
  • Influenza vaccine coverage in older people has been declining continuously in most EU countries since 2008.• Increased mortality in the elderly possibly associated with influenza was reported by 14 countries.

Avian and swine influenza cases have been documented in humans in 2012 and 2013 across the world. In particular, highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses remain a concern for human health.

While surveillance of the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been maintained, there have been no reports of any SARS coronavirus infection in humans worldwide since 2003.

The report provides an epidemiological overview of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012 and 2013, focusing on the European cases that can all be traced to the Middle East. The emergence in 2012 of this novel coronavirus in humans shows that SARS and related viruses need to be closely monitored worldwide and capacity needs to be maintained to respond accordingly.

The report discusses the 2012 surveillance data of Legionnaires’ disease as well as reports on the enhanced surveillance of travel-associated cases that is conducted by the European Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Network (ELDSNet):

  • In 2012, 5 856 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported by 30 countries.
  • Six countries (Italy, France, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands) in descending order of magnitude, accounted for 84% of all notified cases.
  • Very few cases were reported by eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Poland or Romania.
  • As in previous years, most cases were community-acquired (≈70%).
  • In 2012, 831 travel-associated cases were reported, which was 9% more than the number of cases reported in 2011.
  • In 2013, ECDC has monitored 3 threats related to Legionnaires’ disease, including a large outbreak of approximately 160 community-acquired cases in Germany.

New publication format and downloadable data

The Annual Epidemiological Report is a key ECDC publication on the epidemiology of communicable diseases of public health significance in Europe. To facilitate more timely publication of the annual epidemiological data, the report is being first published a disease group at a time and will later be compiled into one comprehensive annual report. Easy access to the epidemiological information is encouraged by making available online downloadable data on the main diseases.

This chapter of the 2014 epidemiological report focuses on respiratory tract infections and is complemented by downloadable data on influenza and Legionnaires’ disease.

The ECDC Annual Epidemiological Report is drawn from surveillance information on the 52 communicable diseases and health issues for which surveillance is mandatory in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) Countries. Targeted at policymakers and health sector leaders, epidemiologists, scientists and the wider public, the report aims to both provide a comprehensive overview of the present situation of communicable diseases in Europe and to assist policymakers and health leaders in making evidence-based decisions in relation to public health programmes and actions.

Produced annually, the report is intended for policymakers and health sector leaders, epidemiologists, scientists and the wider public. It is hoped that readers will find it a useful overview and reference to better understand the present situation in relation to communicable diseases in Europe. It should also usefully assist policymakers and health leaders in making evidence-based decisions to plan and improve programmes, services and interventions for preventing, managing and treating these diseases.

 

 

Publication data

Data

Distribution of confirmed Legionnaires’ disease reported cases, EU/EEA 2008-2012

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Distribution of confirmed Legionnaires’ disease reported cases, EU/EEA 2008-2012

Data

Number and rates of Legionnaires’ disease reported cases, EU/EEA 2008-2012

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Number and rates of Legionnaires’ disease reported cases, EU/EEA 2008-2012

Data

Weekly percentage of sentinel specimens positive for influenza, EU/EEA 2012-2013 and average for 2007-2011 seasons (with upper and lower ranges)

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Weekly percentage of sentinel specimens positive for influenza, EU/EEA 2012-2013 and average for 2007-2011 seasons (with upper and lower ranges)