During the 46th week of 2019 (from 11.11.2019 – 17.11.2019), 44 (I = 2.1/ 100,000) cases of influenza / flu-like illnesses were reported in the Republic of North Macedonia.
Compared to the number of cases registered in the 46th week of last season , and compared to the typical seasonal curve (n = 87), the number of reported cases was 2 times lower. (n=78) (Chart 1).
The reported incidence is below the weekly limit of seasonal activity of the influenza virus (I = 36.38 / 100,000). Influenza activity is below the seasonal level, ie the threshold for entry into the influenza season has not yet been reached (chart 1).
Chart 1. Intensity levels and weekly distribution of influenza / influenza-like illness by expected epidemic curve 2010-2019, season 2018/2019 and 2019/2020
Regarding the distribution of the diseases by age groups, the highest number of cases (n = 17; 38.6%) was reported in the age group that covers the largest part of the population (15-64 years) –and the highest incidence (7.8 / 100,000) is registered in children aged 0-4.
This week, 9 reported units reported cases. Most of the cases were reported from Gostivar (n = 11) and Debar (n = 15). The highest weekly incidence (I = 54.0 / 100,000) is registered in Debar.
In the 2019/2020 season, the total number of influenza cases was 169 (I = 8.2 / 100,000).
Compared to the same period last season (n = 270), there is a decrease in the total number of reported cases by 37.4%, while compared to the model for the last 9 seasons (n = 380) there is a decrease of 55.6% .
Cumulatively this season, from cases have been reported from 13 reporting units, and in64 reporting units the number of reported cases is ≥10. The highest number of infected persons (n = 46; 27.2%) in Gostivar and the highest cumulative incidence (I = I = 79.3 / 100,000) were registered in Debar.
Regarding the distribution of the diseases by age groups, the highest number of cases was reported in the age group that covers the largest part of the population (15-64 years) – 81 cases (47.9%) and the highest incidence (18.9 / 100,000) is registered in children aged 0-4.
During the season 2019/2020, 40 materials were available for laboratory testing of influenza in the IPH laboratory for virology.All were negative for the presence of influenza.
Vaccination against seasonal influenza is the most effective protection against this disease, which is why the Institute of Public Health recommends vaccination of the whole population, especially for people who are part of the so-called “influenza.” risk groups (according to WHO recommendations):
Elderly people (over 65 years)• Pregnant women• • Health workers • Children aged 6-59 months.
All interested people should contact the nearest Public Health Center or Regional Unit for more detailed information on seasonal influenza vaccination.
For the 2019/2020 season, the Ministry of Health procured a free four-valent vaccine in a total of 28,000 doses intended for priority population groups. From these, 1,000 doses are intended for children aged 6 months to 5 years, and the remaining 27,000 doses are intended for persons over 65 years of age, persons with chronic diseases and pregnant women at any time during pregnancy.
Vaccination with free and commercial vaccines against influenza is administered in PHC / RU, each for its own area. For the territory of Skopje, besides PHC Skopje, this season the vaccination will be carried out in the Polyclinics Bucharest, Gjorce Petrov and Chair. The appointment for the free vaccines will take place at the family doctor, through the My Termin electronic system.
An additional 21,000 doses of vaccine have been purchased from the Centers for Public Health as vaccines for the rest of the population not included in the above groups and can be obtained for a certain financial fee (650 denars).
Regarding the distribution of the diseases by age groups, cumulatively the highest number of cases was reported in the age group of 15-64 years – 64 cases (51.2%), and the highest cumulative incidence of 13.0 / 100,000 was registered in children from 5-14 years.Since the start of the 2019/2020 season, this lab has received a total of 31 human material from health facilities – from outpatient and hospital treated patients to regular and sentinel surveillance, all tested negative for the presence of the influenza virus.
According to a report by Flu News Europe released in week 45 of 2019, influenza virus activity is at a low seasonal level across the European region. Influenza viruses are sporadically detected in patients with respiratory disease, and Influenza A and Influenza B. isolates are being isolated. From sentinel surveillance 3.7% of tested positive are influenza viruses:
98 Influenza A
A(H1N1)pdm09 – 36
A(H3N2) – 59
A non subtyped -3
61 Inluenza B
Victoria lineage – 12
- Underemined line subtype (B)-48