The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe are warning that the currently dominating flu viruses could put a heavy burden on health systems this season.
According to the authorities, the first virus detections for the 2019/2020 season indicate co-circulation of influenza types A (71%) and B (29%) viruses in the WHO European region, a mix which they say could result in high mortality in the elderly and place a heavy burden of health systems.
In an early assessment for the influenza season, they say the 2019/2020 influenza epidemic in the European region started slightly early, in week 47. The authorities say that continued emphasis on vaccination programmes targeting eligible populations is strongly encouraged.
“It is too soon to predict how the season will develop in terms of peak week, severity and duration” says Pasi Penttinen, Head of ECDC influenza and respiratory viruses disease programme. “However, it is likely that some countries will experience a peak in the middle of the holiday season when healthcare services are often reduced. The ability to manage a sudden influx of patients should therefore be reviewed in anticipation of likely increased patient flows in emergency care during the peak influenza weeks.”