Numbers

Consult Sciensano’s latest weekly influenza bulletin for the surveillance of influenza.

In most cases influenza is a benign illness but for elderly people, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, the complications of flu can be dangerous. Vaccination remains the best way of preventing the complications of flu and hospitalisation.

Influenza in Belgium

  • 500,000 people on average are affected by influenza-like illness each year in Belgium, i.e. about 2% to 8% of the population.
  • A moderate epidemic of influenza affects about 5% of the population (550,000 out of 11 million inhabitants).
  • A more serious epidemic of influenza affects about 10% of the population (from 1,100,000 out of 11 million inhabitants).
  • On average 1 person in 1000 cases of influenza develops complications requiring hospitalisation.
  • More than 90% of deaths concern people of 65 years and over.

Sciensano coordinates a network of general practitioners and hospitals to ensure the permanent surveillance of influenza activity, of the intensity and severity of epidemics and the impact on the population. Sciensano is also the National Reference Centre (NRC) for influenza virus. The Belgian Official Medicines Control Laboratory (OMCL) of Sciensano, together with the European OMCL network, is responsible for the quality control of the influenza vaccine prior to marketing.

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