EU's CDC Sees No New H1N1 Wave Coming

The most likely scenario for Europe throughout 2010 is continuing low-level transmission and small outbreaks of the pandemic 2009 A(H1N1) influenza, although larger outbreaks could occur, according to the March 9 forecast.

Pandemic 2009 A(H1N1) influenza probably will not return in a severe new wave this year in Europe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control predicts in an assessment released March 9.

"At present the currently authorised monovalent pandemic vaccines and the new 2010/2011 seasonal influenza vaccines are likely to be effective against the 2009 A(H1N1) strain for the coming 6-10 months," it states. "Therefore, for Member States wishing to protect unimmunised citizens in the spring of 2010 and autumn/winter of 2010–2011, there will be advantages to continuing to offer these vaccines (or trivalent vaccines with the pandemic antigen when they are available) to their chosen risk and target groups. ECDC's advice to EU citizens remains to accept influenza vaccination when it is offered to them."

The assessment, titled "Likely scenarios for influenza in 2010 and the 2010/2011 influenza season in Europe and the consequent work priorities," says large outbreaks are possible but unlikely. The virus probably will continue to show epidemic transmission during the 2010/2011 winter season among very young children and other susceptible population groups, and it is likely to become the dominant virus in the coming winter season along with influenza B viruses, "though the presence of influenza A(H3N2) viruses as well cannot presently be excluded. By then Europe will probably be referring to this combination as the 'new seasonal influenza,' " it states.

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