EISS and ECDC confirm an upsurge in the number of confirmed cases of influenza
The 'flu' has arrived in Europe, according to the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The two organisations confirm an upsurge in the number of laboratory confirmed cases of influenza in several European countries.
As of this week, 13 European countries are reporting significant influenza activity.
This increase in influenza activity, which can be expected at this time of the year, is likely to spread to other European countries in the near future. The virus is expected to move eastwards and northwards during the coming weeks.
“Influenza is a disease that needs to be taken seriously. It is unpleasant for anyone who catches it, and can be fatal for older people and people with chronic conditions such as heart or lung disease.
Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of ECDC
ECDC estimates that seasonal influenza is responsible for between 40,000 and 220,000 excess deaths in Europe each year
EISS chairman, professor Koos van der Velden, explained: ‘Usually over 70% of doctor consultations for influenza are for children up to 14 years. However this year healthcare services should be gearing up to an increase in demand for doctor consultations, not only from concerned parents, but also from people of working age.’
Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of ECDC, pointed out that the greatest burden is still likely to be felt by the elderly and chronically ill: ‘Influenza is a disease that needs to be taken seriously. It is unpleasant for anyone who catches it, and can be fatal for older people and people with chronic conditions such as heart or lung disease. People in these high risk groups should protect themselves by getting vaccinated.’