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Pandemic Influenza (H1N1)

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Introduction

Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (also known as "swine flu") is a new type of influenza that is characterized by its rapid spread among humans all over the world since its emergence in April 2009. The virus has been found to contain genes from pig, bird and human influenza viruses, in a combination that has never been observed before.

At the European Union (EU) level, the Commission has been working from the very beginning of the crisis in five strategic areas: vaccine development, vaccination strategies, joint procurement of the vaccine, communication with the public and support to non EU countries.

The European Commission continues to work in cooperation with the 27 Member States, the EEA countries (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and key global partners such as the Global Health Security Initiative (includes the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, USA – and Mexico and World Health Organization).

DG Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) - Public Health Directorate is facilitating the EU coordination. Its Director chairs the EU Health Security Committee bringing together all Member States to address health security issues such as the pandemic preparedness and response.

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Statistics and graphs

Situation of influenza A(H1N1) virus in EU and EFTA countries - ECDC source

Member States, Candidate, EEA and EFTA countries

 
 

Official Documents

Assessment reports

Assessment Report on EU-wide Pandemic Vaccine Strategies
25 August 2010

Assessment Report on the EU-wide Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009
16 April 2010

 

European Commission

Updated technical guidance on generic preparedness planning for public health emergencies
01 December 2009

Citizens' summary - Combating H1N1 flu pandemic in the EU - Commission communication 
21 September 2009

Communication from the Commission on Pandemic (H1N1)2009 
15 September 2009

Commission Staff Working Documents accompanying the Communication from the Commission on Pandemic (H1N1)2009
on Joint procurement of vaccine against influenza A(H1N1)
on communicating with the public and the media on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009
on support to third countries to fight the Influenza A(H1N1)
Regulatory process for the authorisation of antiviral medicines and vaccines in the protection against Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009
Vaccination strategies against pandemic (H1N1) 2009
15 September 2009

 

Health Security Committee

A note of the Health Security Committee - Early Warning Response System contact point audio-meeting, 9 December 2009
10 December 2009

Outcome of the Health Security Committee meeting, 12 and 13 November 2009, Luxembourg
17 November 2009

A note of Health Security Committee - Early Warning System audio-conference on 6 November 2009
10 November 2009

A Note on the Health Security Committee – Early Warning Response System Urgent Audio-Conference on 3 November 2009
03 November 2009

A note of the HSC - EWRS urgent audio-conference on 31 October 2009
31 October 2009

HSC/EWRS statement on priority groups for vaccination
25 August 2009

Health Security Committee discusses vaccination issues and broader public health measures for influenza A (H1N1) 2009
25 August 2009

Health Security Committee discusses vaccination issues and broader public health measures for influenza A (H1N1) 2009
14 August 2009

HSC/EWRS Statement on Influenza A(H1N1) Symptomatic Individuals Travelling
13 August 2009

HSC/EWRS Statement on School closures
13 August 2009

Health Security Committee discusses vaccination issues and broader public health measures for influenza A (H1N1)v
07 August 2009

 

Council of the European Union

Council conclusions on Lessons learned from the A/H1N1 pandemic – Health security in the EU
13 September 2010

Council Conclusions on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 – a strategic approach
12 October 2009

Council Conclusions on Influenza A/H1N1 infection
30 April 2009
 

Information and Advice

Interactive presentation of national communication activities during H1N1

Factsheet on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - March 2010

Information from Member States, Candidate, EEA and EFTA countries

Factsheet on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - November 2009

Overview of surveillance of influenza 2009/2010 in the EU/EEA - 11 September 2009

Protective measures Poster - 07 August 2009

Interim guidance: Use of specific pandemic influenza vaccines during the H1N1 2009 pandemic - 13/08/09

Proactive school closures as a public health measure - 20 July 2009

Infection prevention and control in health care - 25 June 2009

Guide to public health measures to reduce the impact of influenza pandemics in Europe - June 2009

Mitigation and delaying strategies to prevent spread of the infection in Europe - 06 June 2009

Information for travellers - 18 May 2009

Questions and answers

Questions and answers on the review of the recommendations on the use of H1N1 vaccines - 26 October 2009

Frequently asked questions from France - 04 September 2009

Questions and answers about the influenza A(H1N1) - 25 June 2009

What is phase 6? - 11 June 2009

Questions and answers on vaccine development - 29 April 2009

Other sites of interest

Council of the European Union
European Food Safety Agency (EFSA)
European Medicines Agency (EMA)
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
WHO
WHO/Europe
US CDC
Secretaria de Salud Mexico
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
The Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI)
Actions of the EU regarding influenza
The White House blog
Public Health Agency of Canada

What the Commission is doing

DG Health and Consumers is maintaining permanent contact with the 27 Member States, ECDC, WHO, and with the EEA countries (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) through the EU Early Warning and Response system, and the EU Health Security Committee, and with key global partners through the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) channel (the GHSI includes the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, USA – and Mexico and WHO).

DG Health and Consumers follows particularly the discussions ongoing in the various WHO Committees which recommend a global approach, then translated at EU and national level.

Commission's Health Emergency Operations Facility monitors and coordinates the flu response from the EU perspective.

Since the start of the AH1N1 influenza event on 23 April 2009, the Commission has activated its Health Emergency Operations Facility (HEOF) and follows daily the evolution of the situation and coordinates the EU response.

This mechanism included, especially during the alert phases, a 24 h/7 days on-duty function, including week-ends and bank holidays with daily reports on the epidemiological situation, on management issues such as measures to be implemented and information to the public. Such issues were also - and are still actively - discussed during regular meetings which Member States (Health Security Committee, EWRS Committee and their respective sub-groups). These meetings are taking place mostly through audio-conferences on a regular and ad hoc basis, when the development of the situation requires it.

Communication between all partners at national, EU and international level is ongoing through the various restricted communication systems in place, such as an Early Warning and Response reporting Systems on communicable diseases (EWRS) and a Health Emergency and Diseases Information System (HEDIS), which provides updates, situation reports and crisis management tools for the partners in the Health Authorities across Europe.

The public can follow the evolution of the situation on:

Other EU agencies and institutions working closely with the Commission are involved in the pandemic (H1N1) 2009:

1) The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is responsible for the risk assessment and for providing scientific support and advice on surveillance to Member States and the Commission.

2) The European Medicines Agency (EMA): the Agency's specific responsibilities in relation to the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 have been to review scientific data submitted as part of the procedure for authorisation of pandemic vaccines or antiviral medicines in all EU Member States. It continuously monitors the safety of centrally authorised pandemic vaccines and antivirals, and it also recommends, where necessary, changes to the use or authorisation status of these medicines.

3) The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), in line with its mission, monitors the situation with respect to animal health and food safety. EFSA’s role is to provide European risk managers with objective scientific advice on possible animal health and welfare, zoonotic and food safety aspects.