Season overview

2020-2021 season overview 


  • For the Region as a whole, influenza activity has been at baseline level since the start of the season.


  • In total, 215 specimens have tested positive for influenza viruses, 9 from sentinel sources and 206 from non-sentinel sources, with type A (both subtypes) and type B (both lineages) viruses being detected.


  • Since the start of the season, few hospitalized laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been reported: 10 from ICUs (all infected with type A viruses); 3 cases (two type A viruses and 1 type B) in wards outside ICUs with 1 fatality; and four from severe acute respiratory infection (SARI)-based surveillance (3 infected with type B viruses and 1 with type A).


  • 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 compared to the 2019–2020 influenza vaccine.


Influenza positivity

As of week 02/2021, for the European Region, influenza virus positivity in sentinel specimens remained below the epidemic threshold, which is set at 10%.

External data sources

Mortality monitoring:

  • Overall pooled estimates of all-cause mortality for 27 countries and areas participating in the EuroMOMO project showed a substantial increase in excess all-cause mortality, coinciding with a reported increase in COVID-19 cases in several countries.


  • This excess mortality was driven by a very substantial excess mortality in some countries and areas, while others see normal mortality levels.


  • Increased excess all-cause mortality was seen primarily among persons aged 45 years and older.