During the 1st week of 2019, (31.12.2018 – 06.01.2019) the Republic of Macedonia registered 196 influenza cases/flu-like diseases(I=9.5/100.000). Compared with the number of registered cases in the last week, are decreased 3.0%))and decreased for 20,3 % compared with the cases of the last season.(n=246)
Chart 1. Distribution of cases of seasonal influenza by week, typical epidemic curve of the seasons 2010-2018, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019
Regarding the distribution of patients by age groups, the largest number of cases this week have been reported in the age group of 15-64 years (n=146; 74.5% cases) and the highest incidence is registered in the age group, 5-14 years. (I=13.0 /100.000).
This week the biggest number of influenza cases is registered in Tetovo (n=57, I=28,5/100,000), and the highest incidence is registered in Tetovo, also. (chart 1)
Cumulatively 13 reporting units reported very low activity and only one reported low(seasonal) actrivity(Image1)
Image 1. Level of influenza activity according to the incidence of 100,000 inhabitants, 1 week 2019
In the 2018/2019 season, the total number of influenza cases is 1414 (I=68.3/100.000).
Compared with the same period last season (n = 1328), there is a decrease in the total number of reported cases by 6.5%, and in relation to the model for the last 8 seasons (n = 2661) a decrease of 46.9% .
Cumulatively this season, sick persons from 25 reporting units have been reported, and in 16 reporting units the number of reported infected persons is ≥10. The highest number of patients (Gostivar (n=288; 20,4%; I=240,5/100.000), Tetovo (n=227; 16,1%; I=113,6/100.000) Kumanovo (n=163; 11,5%; I=114,2/100.000) the highest cumulative incidence was registered in RO Makedonski brod (I = 250.1/ 100.000, n=23) and in Sveti Nikole I=229.1/100.000) (chart 2)
Chart 1. Distribution of cases of seasonal influenza per CPH / RO and the incidence of 100,000 inhabitants, season 2018/2019
Regarding the distribution of the diseased by age groups, the cumulative number of cases was reported in the age group of 15-64 years – 977 cases (69.1%), and the highest cumulative incidence of 105.9 / 100.000 was registered in 0-4 years. (chart 3)
Chart 3. Distribution of seasonal flu / influenza-like illnesses by age group – incidence of 100,000 inhabitants, season 2018/2019
Distribution of seasonal flu patients by months (Table 1 in the Appendix):
October – 51 cases or 3.6%
November – 383 cases or 27.1%
December – 784 cases or 55.4%
January – 196 cases or 13.9%
During the week 50 of 2018, the laboratory for virology of IPH has received 5 samples, materials for laboratory diagnostics, all are negative for the presence of influenza virus. From the beginning of the season are received 31 samples, and two are positive(4.0%). Influenza A/H3 and Influenza A non-subtyped.
Vaccination against seasonal influenza is the most effective protection against this disease, therefore the Public Health Institute recommends vaccination of the entire population, especially for people belonging to risk groups (according to WHO recommendations):
For the first time, since this season of influenza, Macedonia launched a free influenza vaccination for a particular category of population. For that purpose, the Ministry of Health has purchased 28,000 doses for people over 65 years of age with an average, under-average pension or no income. Additional 19386 doses were procured by the Public Health Centers as commercial vaccines for the rest of the population.
Vaccination with free and commercial influenza vaccines is carried out by CPH / RO, as well as the previous seasons, and for the first time this season, the appointment for free vaccines is through a family doctor in the My Term system.
According to the data from the Department of E-health, from the beginning of the vaccination on 05.11.2018, and as of the closing of this report, a total of 19322 persons (71.2%)were vaccinated.
In terms of commercial vaccines, according to available data from CPH / RO, 19322 people were vaccinated. The largest number of vaccinated are over the age of 65 years – 10955 or 56.7%, aged 30-64 years – 7366 or 38.1%, while at the age of 5-29 are 196 or 1.0 %. 4 children under the age of 5 were vaccinated. From the category of health workers, 801 persons or 4.1% were vaccinated. No vaccinated pregnant women. From the total number of vaccinated patients, 14089 persons or 72.9% have a history of chronic diseases. (table 3)
During the 50th week, a report on vaccine against seasonal influenza in PZU Neuromedica was received. According to the data, in the Neuromedica Clinic, 50 people were vaccinated from a total of 200 procured vaccines (25.0%). The majority of the vaccinated (42.0%) are in the age group of 30-64 years. One pregnant women is vaccinated and 11 health workers. From the total number of vaccinated patients in PHI Neuromedica, 38.0% have a history of chronic disease.
According to records presented in Flu News Europe (52nd week/2018), the activity of influenza virus in Europe is low. 37% samples were confirmed as positive. (from the sentinel surveillance tests in countries reporting to the TESSy system of the ECDC). So far, influenza type A is predominant with 98.1%, and most of the viruses are subtyped as A(H3N2) and A(H1N1)pdm09