Joint WHO/Europe–ECDC Annual European Influenza Surveillance Meeting, 2018

Event Expert meeting
6 Jun 2018 - 8 Jun 2018
Copenhagen, Denmark
ECDC, WHO Regional Office for Europe

The joint annual influenza surveillance meeting by ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe took place on 6 - 8 June 2018 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Invited participants were epidemiological and virological surveillance experts nominated by national health authorities as well as representatives from international institutions, covering the 53 countries of the EU/EEA and the WHO European region. The meeting was by invitation only.

WHO/Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) coordinate surveillance activities related to the prevention and control of influenza in the WHO European Region. Since 2011, the two institutions have jointly organized annual meetings focused on epidemiological and virological aspects of influenza surveillance, seasonal influenza vaccination, and the global situation regarding outbreaks of avian influenza and other emerging respiratory pathogens. This was the sixth Joint Annual Meeting for the 53 Member States of the Region’s influenza network.

The aim of the Meeting was to discuss technical and operational issues related to influenza surveillance, seasonal influenza vaccination programmes, and risk assessment and outbreak response. Topics were derived from work that was prioritized during previous annual meetings. Participants discussed progress in the implementation of new surveillance systems as well as the strengths of existing systems in the light of their contribution to Flu News Europe and to influenza-season risk assessments.

In addition, this year’s Meeting reflected on 2 significant events: the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic and the first decade of the Region’s influenza network, which was launched in 2008. To reflect the significance of these events, the Meeting was being held at UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Main objectives:

  • discuss the impact of previous influenza pandemics and discuss preparedness for future pandemics;
  • review developments in influenza surveillance in the Region during the past decade and anticipate future developments;
  • provide an overview of the 2017/2018 influenza season with respect to epidemiology, virology, vaccination and burden of disease, and discuss opportunities and challenges related to influenza surveillance for the upcoming 2018/2019 influenza season;
  • present new developments with respect to the joint ECDC–WHO/Europe Flu News Europe bulletin;
  • discuss revisions of European Union case definitions related to influenza and other respiratory viruses;
  • provide an overview of the global situation regarding influenza as well as global surveillance developments; and
  • maintain and strengthen collaboration and information-sharing among network members.

See previous meetings

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Seasonal influenza

Seasonal influenza is a preventable infectious disease with mostly respiratory symptoms. It is caused by influenza virus and is easily transmitted, predominantly via the droplet and contact routes and by indirect spread from respiratory secretions on hands etc.