The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control recently reported that season influenza activity has increased substantially among European countries, particularly those in the northwestern portion of the continent.
The ECDC’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview, Week 1, 2013, reports that 16 European countries have reported signs of an increasing trend of influenza transmission. Eleven countries reported medium influenza activity and one country reported high intensity activity. Ten European countries reported the geographic pattern as widespread. Only Romania has reported decreasing trends in influenza activity.
The weekly report says that virological surveillance for the period returned 320 positive sentinel samples out of 734 taken across 20 countries. The percentage, deemed high, is similar to that seen in the previous week. Of the sentinel samples, 44 percent were found to be Influenza type A and 56 percent type B. Of the influenza A samples subtyped, 51 percent were found to be A(H3) and 49 percent A(H1).
The agency said that the composition of this year’s seasonal vaccine is well-matched to the influenza viruses detected in Europe. Currently, the seasonal vaccine contains three subtypes, influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and influenza B. It will continue to monitor flu activity in Europe and report on it every week for the duration of the season.