Publish date: 02.02.2017
According to the data published by the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza activity in the Northern Hemisphere began to increase significantly in December 2016. The North European and North American countries were the first to be involved. In January 2017 the incidence of influenza continued to grow and epidemics were reported in all European countries, North Africa, South-East and East Asia. Most of the detected viruses comprised of an influenza virus subtype A -96.4% of all the serologically confirmed influenza viruses for the period from December to January. Only 3.6% of the detected viruses were influenza B viruses. Among the subtype A influenza viruses the A(H1N1)pdm09 strain, which caused the pandemic in 2009, represent only 2.6% of the total number while the influenza viruses of A(H3N2) subtype are the major cause of disease (97.4% cases). The most severe disease conditions were present in the elderly, people over 65 years old, infected with this virus. That is why this particular age group constituted the majority of the hospitalized patients with virologically confirmed diagnosis of "influenza disease". It should be noted that the antigenic properties of the A(H3N2) virus coincided with the strain, which has been recommended and used for the production of vaccines for the 2016 - 2017. Therefore, those individuals who had been vaccinated, have a high chance to be protected from flu in the current epidemic season.
No reduced sensitivity to the specific anti-influenza drugs Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) and Relenza® (zanamivir), acting as inhibitors of virus neuraminidase activity, was observed to date among the isolated viruses. Thus, these types of medications could be effectively used for the infection control. When using these drugs one needs to remember that their performance is significantly higher if the patient's treatment is started from the very first day of infection.
Dr. J. Romanova
Editor-in-Chief MIR Journal
The review is based on the data of influenza control presented on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/influenza/surveillance_monitoring/updates