Weeks 31-34/2020 (27 June - 23 August 2020) 

  • Influenza activity is at inter-seasonal levels.
  • Of 812 sentinel specimens tested for influenza viruses in weeks 21-34, one tested positive for influenza B.
  • The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting healthcare presentations and testing capacities of Member States in the Region, which has a negative impact on reporting of influenza epidemiologic and virologic data. Therefore, the data we present, notably in terms of seasonal patterns, must be interpreted with caution.
  • The next inter-seasonal update will be published on 2 October 2020.

2019/20 season overview 

  • For the Region as a whole, influenza activity commenced earlier than in recent years and, based on sentinel sampling, first exceeded a positivity rate of 10% in week 47/2019.
  • The influenza season for the Region as a whole peaked in week 05/2020, reaching a maximum positivity rate of 55%. The peak phase with positivity levels above 50% lasted for just two weeks, 05/2020 and 06/2020, though reporting systems in subsequent weeks have been adversely affected by Member State responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the previous influenza season, the influenza positivity rate exceeded 50% for six weeks.
  • Both influenza types A and B co-circulated in the Region. Of the influenza A viruses, both influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) co-circulated. Of the circulating B viruses, the vast majority belonged to the B/Victoria lineage.
  • The percentage of specimens testing positive for an influenza virus from patients who presented with ILI or ARI to sentinel primary healthcare sites dropped below 10% in week 13/2020, where it has since remained. In the 2018/2019 season, the positivity rate first dropped below 10% in week 17/2019.
  • The great majority of analysed viruses were susceptible to neuraminidase inhibitors supporting early treatment or prophylactic use according to national guidelines.
  • Interim estimates of 2019–2020 seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness in the northern hemisphere are available. Vaccination remains the best possible intervention for prevention of influenza and/or reducing the risk of serious complications.
  • WHO has published recommendations for the composition of influenza vaccines to be used in the 2020–2021 northern hemisphere season. Based on these recommendations, the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H3N2) and B/Victoria-lineage virus components should be updated for the 2020–2021 influenza vaccine.

Other news

The World Health Organization categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. For more information about the situation in the WHO European Region visit:

Influenza intensity, spread and dominant virus type/subtype