ECDC, WHO: early influenza surveillance indicates elderly might be hardest hit

  • ECDC Newsroom
  • ECDC
  • 19 Dec 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • ECDC/WHO 2019 early influenza surveillance report highlights cocirculating influenza type A (H3N1), B/Victoria strains, noting their potentially serious effect on older age groups, health systems.

Why this matters

  • Emphasize/encourage vaccine uptake among all patients, especially persons aged ≥60 years and those with cardiorespiratory conditions. 
  • Administer neuraminidase inhibitor antivirals to optimize outcomes. 
  • Ensure all health care staff are immunized.

Key points

  • The 2019-2020 influenza season in the European region started earlier than the prior season, but it is too early to predict seasonal peak/severity/duration.
  • At week 49/2019, dominant influenza virus type/subtypes varied.
  • Influenza A was most dominant (71%, 18 countries or territories), whereas 6 countries (29%; Georgia, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia) reported type B dominance, and 2 countries (France, Spain) reported codominant A, B strains. 
  • Sentinel sources:
    • Of 700 type A viruses, 68%, 32% were A(H3), A(H1)pdm09, respectively.
    • Of 288 type B viruses, 29% were reported with a lineage, 95% were B/Victoria.
  • Influenza-like illness, acute respiratory infections are increasing and are above baseline values in 6 countries/territories (Croatia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, UK [Northern Ireland]).
  • 383 hospitalized-confirmed influenza ICU cases, 5 countries (France, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, UK):
    • 94% type A (71% A[H3], 29% A[H1]pdm09) mostly (16%) in ages