Risk assessment: Seasonal influenza 2014–2015 in the EU/EEA countries

risk assessment
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Seasonal influenza in the EU/EEA countries, 2014–2015. Stockholm: ECDC; 2015

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This risk assessment covers the 2014–2015 influenza season in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA).

Executive summary

  • The EU/EAA influenza season started in week 1/2015, with 26% of sentinel specimens positive for influenza.
  • Subtype A(H3N2) viruses are dominant in almost all reporting European countries, and the majority of genetically characterised A(H3N2) viruses belong to subgroups distinct from the currently recommended vaccine-strain A/Texas/50/2012. 
  • As a consequence of the mismatch between vaccine and circulating strains, reduced vaccine effectiveness is expected, as suggested by early effectiveness estimates (< 25%) in the USA, where similar circulating drift variants were detected.
  • Among laboratory-confirmed influenza cases admitted to ICUs, 95% were related to influenza A viruses, 73% of which were A(H3N2) viruses.
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis and early treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors should be offered to high-risk groups and influenza-infected elderly.

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