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Week 2/2017 (9 – 15 January 2017)
- Influenza activity remained widespread across the region with high or very high intensity in 8 out of 44 reporting countries or regions and medium intensity in 26 countries.
- The proportion of influenza virus detections among sentinel surveillance specimens was 46%, a slight decline from 52% in the previous week.
- The great majority of influenza viruses detected were type A (97%) and, of those subtyped, 99% were A(H3N2).
- Most of the hospitalized laboratory-confirmed cases reported have occurred in people aged 65 years or more.
- Excess all-cause mortality among the elderly has been observed in the past 1 to 2 months in most of the 18 countries that take part in EuroMOMO.
- Influenza activity started early this season compared to previous seasons.
- Week 46/2016 is the earliest week that the overall influenza-positivity rate in sentinel specimens reached 10% since the emergence of A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses in the 2009 season; during the last 6 seasons this occurred between weeks 48 and 51.
- Since week 40/2016, influenza A viruses have predominated, accounting for 96% of all sentinel detections; the great majority (99%) of subtyped influenza A viruses from sentinel sites has been A(H3N2).
- In an influenza season in which A(H3N2) viruses predominate, elderly populations can be expected to be most severely affected. Indeed, confirmed cases of influenza A infection reported from hospitals have predominantly been in adults aged over 65 years.
- So far, circulating A(H3N2) viruses are antigenically similar to the vaccine strain. While about two-thirds of the A(H3N2) viruses characterized belong to a new genetic subclade (3C.2a1), these viruses are antigenically similar to the vaccine strain (clade 3C.2a).
- Early monitoring of vaccine effectiveness in Finland and Sweden suggests levels of effectiveness similar to estimates from multi-country studies during the seasons 2011–2012 to 2014–2015 with 26% (95% CI 22% to 30%) and 24% (95% CI 11% to 34%) vaccine effectiveness, respectively, in persons aged 65 years and older with laboratory-confirmed influenza A. Given the partial effectiveness of influenza vaccines, rapid use of neuraminidase inhibitors for laboratory-confirmed or probable cases of influenza infection should be considered for vaccinated and non-vaccinated patients at risk of developing complications.
- No reduced antiviral susceptibility has been observed among the viruses tested.
- A risk assessment on seasonal influenza in EU/EEA countries was published by ECDC on 24 December 2016. The above summary is in line with the findings of the risk assessment.
Figure. Influenza virus detections in sentinel-source specimens by type and subtype, by week and cumulatively
A truck driver plowed into a crowded Christmas market late Monday on a city square in central Berlin, killing at least 9 and injuring 50 others. Deliberate????Monday, December 19th, 2016
“…The episode immediately evoked memories of the attack last July in Nice, France, when a truck driver ran over and killed more than 80 people during Bastille Day celebrations….”
The NWS predicts the Cedar River will reach a crest of 23′ in Cedar River Tuesday morning. Officials have asked those in downtown areas of the city near the river to leave by 8 p.m. Sunday.Monday, September 26th, 2016
Not necessarily a bad thing: A loud noise mistaken for gunfire led to rumors that spread at blazing speed in person and on social media, setting off a panic that shut down one of the nation’s busiest airports, as passengers fled terminals and burst through security cordons, and as the police struggled to figure out what was happening and to restore order.Tuesday, August 30th, 2016