No evidence of influenza virus circulation in Ireland for start of 2020/2021 influenza season


The 2020/2021 influenza surveillance reporting season has commenced. The influenza reporting season runs from October to May each year. The first weekly influenza surveillance report of the 2020/2021 season has been published on the HPSC website.

There was no evidence of influenza virus circulation in Ireland during week 40 2020 (the week ending 4th October 2020). An increase in rhinovirus and enterovirus detections, which cause respiratory infections such as the ‘common cold’ was reported in September 2020, as usually occurs at this time of year when schools re-open.

Worldwide, influenza activity was reported as being at lower levels than expected for this time of the year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that current influenza surveillance global data should be interpreted with caution, due to the impact of COVID-19 on influenza surveillance.

Influenza vaccination remains the best possible intervention for the prevention of influenza and/or reducing the risk of serious complications. During the 2019/2020 influenza season, influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates in Ireland were high at 70.6% [95% CI: 40.7 to 85.4] for all influenza. The introduction of quadrivalent influenza vaccines in Ireland for the 2019/2020 season provided a high level of protection against medically attended laboratory confirmed influenza presenting to general practice.