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Abstract

Influenza antigenic and genetic characterisation data are crucial for influenza vaccine composition decision making. Previously, aggregate data were reported to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control by European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries. A system for collecting case-specific influenza antigenic and genetic characterisation data was established for the 2013/14 influenza season. In a pilot study, 11 EU/EEA countries reported through the new mechanism. We demonstrated feasibility of reporting strain-based antigenic and genetic data and ca 10% of influenza virus-positive specimens were selected for further characterisation. Proportions of characterised virus (sub)types were similar to influenza virus circulation levels. The main genetic clades were represented by A/StPetersburg/27/2011(H1N1)pdm09 and A/Texas/50/2012(H3N2). A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were more prevalent in age groups (by years) < 1 (65%; p = 0.0111), 20–39 (50%; p = 0.0046) and 40–64 (55%; p = 0.00001) while A(H3N2) viruses were most prevalent in those ≥ 65 years (62%*; p = 0.0012). Hospitalised patients in the age groups 6–19 years (67%; p = 0.0494) and ≥ 65 years (52%; p = 0.0005) were more frequently infected by A/Texas/50/2012 A(H3N2)-like viruses compared with hospitalised cases in other age groups. Strain-based reporting enabled deeper understanding of influenza virus circulation among hospitalised patients and substantially improved the reporting of virus characterisation data. Therefore, strain-based reporting of readily available data is recommended to all reporting countries within the EU/EEA.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.41.30370
2016-10-13
2017-10-19
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.41.30370
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