Factsheet about seasonal influenza
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Flu transmits easily from person to person. It does this through the air or from contaminated hands or surfaces. The risk of getting or causing infection is easily reduced by taking some simple preventive steps. Immunisation in particular decreases the risk of a person being infected. Proper use of flu vaccines is the most effective form of protection.
Risk groups for severe influenza
Some people are at high risk of serious complications as a result of influenza, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death. The risk groups includes people who are more likely than others to develop severe disease if they should be infected, such as the elderly, pregnant women, young children and people with underlying health conditions.
Types of seasonal influenza vaccine
Injected trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines are most commonly used throughout the world. Influenza antigen preparation varies between manufacturers. The inactivated influenza vaccines available in the EU/EEA may contain either split virion influenza virus products or subunit influenza products. Adjuvanted inactivated subunit influenza vaccine for older people is available in some EU/EEA Member States and is since 2015 authorised for younger children in Canada but not yet in Europe.