Epidemiological characteristics of acute respiratory outbreaks in the UK during the 2016/2017 influenza season
PHE ePoster Library. Zhao H. 09/12/17; 186627; 178
Dr. Hongxin Zhao
Dr. Hongxin Zhao
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Abstract 2016/2017 influenza season in the UK was a moderate season dominated by influenza A(H3N2) circulation. However, more outbreaks of acute respiratory infections were reported this season compared with the previous seasons. The aim of this work is to present the epidemiological characteristics of these outbreaks and to suggest possible reasons and control measures. Outbreak data were collected through the UK national health protection reporting systems and HPZone. A total of 1095 acute respiratory outbreaks were reported across the UK in 2016/17, with the majority (91%) in England, 6.9% in Scotland, 1.3% in Northern Ireland and 1% in Wales. The majority of outbreaks occurred in the care home settings (78.4%), 14.5% were in hospitals, 5.6% in schools and 1.5% in other settings. The main affected population group were the elderly for whom the vaccine uptake was reportedly high. The number of outbreaks increased from week 50 2016 and peaked in week 02 2017. Where information on virological testing was available, the majority of outbreaks were caused by influenza A (alone or with other pathogens, 82.4%), 2.4% were caused by influenza B and 17.8% by other non-influenza viruses. The observation of a high number of A(H3) outbreaks in a generally highly vaccinated population raises questions about the effectiveness of the vaccine. The findings highlight the importance of further investigation to measure vaccine effectiveness; the potential added value of newer vaccines for the elderly and the importance of timely use of influenza antiviral medications to mitigate the impact of influenza. External funding details None
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