Weekly influenza overview

Week 02/2021 (11–17 January2021)


  • Influenza activity remained at interseasonal levels.


  • Of 928 specimens tested for influenza in week 02/2021, from patients presenting with ILI or ARI symptoms to sentinel primary healthcare sites, 1 was positive for an influenza virus.


  • Influenza viruses were detected sporadically from non-sentinel sources (such as hospitals, schools, primary care facilities not involved in sentinel surveillance, or nursing homes and other institutions). Both influenza type A and type B viruses were detected.


  • There were no hospitalized laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported for week 02/2021.


  • The influenza season in the European Region has usually been designated as having started by this point in the year but, despite widespread and regular testing for influenza, reported influenza activity still remains at a very low level. The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected healthcare seeking behaviours, healthcare provision, and testing practices and capacities in countries and areas of the European Region, which have negatively impacted on the reporting of influenza epidemiologic and virologic data during the 2020-2021 season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the influenza data we present will need to be interpreted with caution, notably in terms of seasonal patterns.



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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:  


Qualitative indicators
  • Of 35 countries and areas that reported on the intensity of activity indicator, 32 reported baseline levels, and 3 (Azerbaijan, Slovakia and United Kingdom (England)) reported low intensity for week 02/2021.


  • Of 36 countries and areas that reported on geographic spread, 31 reported no activity and 5 (Azerbaijan, Denmark, Portugal, Slovakia and United Kingdom (England)) reported sporadic spread for week 02/2021.


Please note: 

  1. Assessment of the intensity of activity indicator includes consideration of ILI or ARI rates. These ILI or ARI rates might be driven by respiratory infections other than influenza, including SARS-CoV-2, leading to the observed increases in the absence of influenza detections.
  2. Assessment of intensity and geographic spread indicators includes consideration of sentinel and non-sentinel influenza virus detection data. Non-sentinel influenza virus detections, often higher, might translate into reporting of elevated geographic spread even in the absence of sentinel detections.
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© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control 2020
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