Monday, February 11, 2013

ECDC: Influenza Still On The Rise In Europe


ECDC Week 5 Influenza Report



# 6921


While the levels of influenza-like-activity have begun to drop across much of North America, some areas of the Northern Hemisphere have yet to see their seasonal peak.


This morning the ECDC released their latest (week 5) influenza surveillance report, that finds that flu activity continues to rise in many parts of the EU.


Some excerpts from the week 5 report:


Weekly reporting on influenza surveillance in Europe for the 2012–13 season started in week 40/2012 and active influenza transmission began around week 49/2012, approximately six weeks earlier than in the 2011/2012 season.

  • In week 5/2013, 19 countries reported concomitantly high/medium-intensity transmission and wide geographic spread. Twenty-two countries reported increasing trends in influenza activity.
  • In week 5/2013, the proportion of influenza-positive sentinel specimens continued to increase, reaching 55%.
  • Since week 40/2012, the proportions of influenza A and B viruses have remained similar (51% vs. 49%), but among type A viruses, the percentage of A(H1)pdm09 has continued to increase (64%), compared to 52% in week 2/2012.
  • For week 5/2013, of 71 hospitalised laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported by six countries, 33 (46%) tested positive for influenza A viruses and 38 (54%) for type B viruses.

On 8 February, ECDC published its annual risk assessment for seasonal influenza 2012–2013, based on data up to week 3/2013. The risk assessment is available here.

Influenza activity continued to rise across Europe in week 5/2013. In a few countries, the epidemics seemed to have passed their peaks, although some countries experienced a resurgence of ILI rates.


The ECDC is now producing a weekly Infographic that provides a quick review of the flu season in Europe.




Unlike North America, which this year has seen a flu season dominated by H3N2 Influenza A virus, in Europe the flu this season is nearly equally divided between influenza A & B.


And among the influenza A strains identified, 64% have been the 2009 H1N1 strain, and 36% H3N2. This year, In North America, H1N1 has been a relatively minor player.


Elsewhere around the world, we are seeing flu on the rise in Hong Kong as well.

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