During the 48th week of 2019 (from 25.11.2019 – 01.12.2019), 109 (I = 5.3/ 100,000) cases of influenza / flu-like illnesses were reported in the Republic of North Macedonia.
This week, 13 materials were available for laboratory testing of influenza in the IPH laboratory for virology. All were negative for the presence of influenza.
Compared to the number of reported cases registered this week to the 48th week of last season (n = 90) is increased by 21.1%, and compared to the 48th week of the typical epidemic curve (modeled from the last 9 seasons) ( n = 102) is registered an increase of 7.3% (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 = 48; 44.0%) was reported in the age group that covers the largest part of the population (15-64 years) –and the highest incidence (24.1 / 100,000) is registered in children aged 0-4.
This week, 13 reporting units reported cases. Most of the cases were reported from Skopje (n = 49). The highest weekly incidence (I = 25.2 / 100,000) is registered in Debar.
A very low activity of the influenza virus was registered in all reporting units through the country (Chart 1).
Chart 1. Level of influenza activity according to the incidence of 100,000 inhabitants, 48 weeks 2019
In the 2019/2020 season, the total number of influenza cases was 360 (I = 17,4 / 100,000).
Compared to the same period last season (n = 434), there is a decrease in the total number of reported cases by 17,1%, while compared to the model for the last 9 seasons (n = 572) there is a decrease of 37,1% .
Cumulatively this season, from cases have been reported from 15 reporting units, and in 8 reporting units the number of reported cases is ≥10. The highest number of infected persons (n = 99; 27,5%) in Скопје and the highest cumulative incidence (I = 133,3 / 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) – 175 cases (48,6%) and the highest incidence (53,4 / 100,000) is registered in children aged 0-4.
During the season 2019/2020, 62 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 20800 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).
According to data from the EHS, since the start of the vaccination on 15.11.2018, and as of the close of this report, a total of 17400 people from the at-risk population have been vaccinated. (Chart 2 in the Appendix).
In terms of commercial vaccines, according to available data from the PH / PE reports, 9974 people have been vaccinated in the territory of North Macedonia. Most of the vaccinated are aged 30-64 years – 4866 persons or 48.8%, over 65 years – 4642 persons or 46.5%, while aged 5-29 are 338 or 3.4% %. 8 children younger than 5 years of age are vaccinated. From the category of healthcare professionals, 120 persons or 1.2% were vaccinated. Two pregnant women were also vaccinated. Of the total number of vaccinated, 5116 (51.3%) have a history of chronic illness. (Chart 3 in the Appendix)
According to a report by Flu News Europe released in week 47 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 5.6% of tested positive are influenza viruses:
242 Influenza A (65.1%)
A(H1N1)pdm09 – 84
A(H3N2) – 149
A non subtyped -9
Inluenza B – 130 (34,9%):
Victoria lineage – 31
- Underemined line subtype (B)-98