Title: #Risk #assessment of seasonal #influenza, #EU/EEA, 2016–2017 – 25 Jan 2017.
Subject: Human Influenza Viruses, seasonal epidemic in the European Region, current epidemiological situation and risk assessment.
Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), full PDF file: (LINK). Summary.
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RAPID RISK ASSESSMENT
Risk assessment of seasonal influenza, EU/EEA, 2016–2017 – 25 Jan 2017
Suggested citation: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Risk assessment of seasonal influenza, EU/EEA, 2016–2017 – Update, 25 January 2017. Stockholm: ECDC; 2017.
© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Stockholm, 2017
Conclusions and options for response
- Most countries with high influenza activity have reported appreciable numbers of cases with severe outcomes.
- These case numbers place a high burden on hospitals.
- Increased excess winter mortality from all causes has been observed in some, but not all, EU countries, concurrent with the circulation of influenza.
- While peaks of influenza activity have been reached in some countries, e.g. Portugal and Italy (where transmission rates and associated severe cases have decreased), others, e.g. France, Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom (Scotland), are still experiencing increasing influenza activity (ILI/ARI rates) and excess deaths.
- EU Member States falling in the latter category should critically assess the healthcare resources necessary to provide care to influenza patients at risk of developing severe disease in order to minimise severe outcomes and consider addressing any gap in resources as a matter of urgency.
- It is also of critical importance that all EU Member States collect and can share information that enables rapid risk and impact assessments to be undertaken.
- This includes surveillance of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases admitted to intensive care units and mortality monitoring, as well as sharing these data with ECDC and EuroMOMO.
- Any EU Member State that has not implemented laboratory-confirmed influenza monitoring in hospitals and is not submitting virus-based data should consider doing so, as this would improve the real-time assessment of the current influenza season and future epidemics or pandemics.
- Continued vaccination of the elderly and other at-risk individuals at this time is unlikely to have a major impact in those EU Member States that have reached the peak of influenza activity, as full immunity is not developed until two weeks post vaccination.
- However, efforts to vaccinate these groups should be continued in other Member States.
- Efforts to improve vaccination coverage should start immediately after the current season, particularly for the elderly, other at-risk groups, healthcare workers and children – if nationally recommended for the 2017–2018 season.
- Given the low vaccination coverage in most EU Member States and the suboptimal effectiveness of influenza vaccines, timely administration of neuraminidase inhibitors, ideally within 48 hours of symptom onset, for probable or laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza infection should be considered for vaccinated and nonvaccinated patients in at-risk groups.
- In addition, prophylaxis in high-risk contacts should always be considered .
Keywords: ECDC; European Union; Updates; Seasonal Influenza.