Week 03/2020 (13-19 January 2020)

  • Influenza activity continued to increase, with one Member State reporting high intensity and eight reporting medium intensity. Widespread influenza activity was reported by the majority of Member States and areas across the Region.
  • Of the individuals sampled, on presenting with ILI or ARI to sentinel primary healthcare sites, 45% tested positive for influenza viruses.
  • Both influenza virus types A and B were co-circulating with a higher proportion (78%) of type A viruses detected.
  • The distribution of viruses detected varied between Member States and areas and within sub-regions. Although the majority of reported influenza virus detections across the Region were type A, two Member States reported influenza type B dominance and eight Member States and areas reported co-dominance of types A and B viruses.
  • In the majority of specimens from severe cases admitted to ICU and non-ICU hospital wards, influenza type A viruses were detected.
  • Data from the 21 countries or regions reporting to the EuroMOMO project indicated that all-cause mortality was at expected levels for this time of the year.
  • Data from the Influenzanet indicated that influenza activity in the community was low in all reporting countries based on this system.

Other news

There is an outgoing outbreak of respiratory illness linked to a novel coronavirus first identified in China.  For more information see:

2019/20 season overview 

  • For the Region as a whole, influenza activity commenced earlier than in recent previous years.
  • Influenza activity in the European Region, based on sentinel sampling, first exceeded a positivity rate of 10% in week 47/2019 and has remained over 10% for nine weeks. There has been an overall increasing trend in the weekly positivity rate for influenza virus detections among sentinel ILI surveillance patients, following a dip in week 52.
  • In sentinel sources, both influenza A subtypes, A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2), are co-circulating, 54% and 46%, respectively. Increased influenza subtype A(H1N1)pdm09 detections have been reported since week 50/2019. Of the influenza B viruses, the vast majority (98%) have been B/Victoria lineage.
  • Among hospitalized influenza virus-infected patients admitted to ICU wards since the beginning of the season, influenza type A viruses have been detected in the majority of cases (94%); of these 63% were A(H3N2) viruses. The same was reported for patients admitted to other wards, with 94% of cases being infected with type A viruses; of these 73% were A(H3N2) viruses.
  • Among SARI cases influenza type B viruses were detected most frequently (63%).
  • Circulating viruses remain susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitors supporting early initiation of treatment or prophylactic use according to national guidelines.
  • The effectiveness of vaccines in the population will be evaluated by vaccine effectiveness studies when there is a sufficient amount of virus characterisation data. Member States should continue encouraging influenza vaccination.
  • ECDC and WHO Regional Office published a joint Regional Situation Assessment for the 2019–2020 influenza season up to week 49/2019, which focused on disease severity and impact on healthcare systems to assist forward planning in Member States.

Influenza intensity, spread and dominant virus type/subtype