Elhakim M, et al. Epidemiology of severe cases of influenza and other acute respiratory infections in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, July 2016 to June 2018. J Infect Public Health. 2019 Jul 4
Influenza surveillance systems in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have been strengthened in the past few years and 16 of the 19 countries in the Region with functional influenza surveillance systems report their influenza data to the EMFLU Network. This study aimed to investigate the epidemiology of circulating influenza viruses, causing SARI, and reported to the EMFLU during July 2016 to June 2018.
Data included in this study were collected by 15 countries of the Region from 110 SARI sentinel surveillance sites over two influenza seasons.
A total of 40,917 cases of SARI were included in the study. Most cases [20,551 (50.2%)] were less than 5years of age. Influenza virus was detected in 3995 patients, 2849 (11.8%) were influenza A and 1146 (4.8%) were influenza B. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was the predominant circulating subtype with 1666 cases (58.5%). Other than influenza, respiratory syncytial virus was the most common respiratory infection circulating, with 277 cases (35.9%).
Influenza viruses cause a high number of severe respiratory infections in EMR. It is crucial for the countries to continue improving their influenza surveillance capacity in order detect any unusual influenza activity or new strain that may cause a pandemic.
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