The 2011 seasonal influenza immunisation campaigns have started across Europe. As in previous years ECDC is marking the start of the 2011-12 surveillance season in Week 40 with the publication of regular weekly updates of the main epidemiological and virological developments in the Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview (WISO).
Together with EU-based virologists and other public health specialists ECDC and WHO continuously monitors the influenza situation across Europe. The epidemiological data are presented in ECDC’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview and WHO’s EuroFlu; surveillance reports containing a clinical and virological overview of the current week, and of the season.
Surveillance is essential to understanding the epidemiology of infectious diseases such as influenza and to helping European and national authorities to protect their citizens. It includes:
- ongoing data collection,
- analysis to convert this data into statistics,
- interpretation of this analysis to produce information and dissemination of this information to those who can take appropriate action.
- sending of specimens to National Influenza Centres and onto WHO.
This year, the first weekly edition of WISO will be published during the 'ECDC Influenza Immunisation Workshops Week', running in Stockholm from 10-14 October 2011. Immunisation is the most effective prevention measure to control influenza among the main groups to whom vaccine is offered: older people, people with underlying conditions and health care workers.
This year, as last season, there is some uncertainty over the mix and epidemiology of the influenza viruses that will circulate in Europe during the 2011-12 season. Based on previous season and the southern hemisphere experience ECDC expects:
- The circulating viruses will match the strains recommended in the vaccine for this season.
- Infections with the A(H1N1) pandemic virus are likely to affect younger people, compared with the pre-2009 pandemic period influenza.
- The influenza epidemics may put secondary care and especially intensive care units (ICUs) under pressure.
Because of the uncertainty ECDC will be following the recommendations made to the World Health Assembly 2011 and undertaking an independent Risk Assessment when the 2011/2012 epidemics start in Europe.
Seasonal influenza health topic site
- ECDC surveillance: ECDC is responsible for the surveillance of infectious diseases in the European Union and shall maintain the databases for epidemiological surveillance.
- Surveillance - data for action: Surveillance is essential to understanding the epidemiology of infectious diseases.
Seasonal influenza vaccines
- Q&A on seasonal influenza vaccines