Influenza is a serious public health problem. During winter seasons, it spreads easily through schools, hospitals, nursing homes, towns and businesses, while its impact is the highest in those most at risk, such as the elderly, young infants and pregnant women. In order to reduce the impact of seasonal influenza, efficient prevention and treatment strategies should be implemented. Preparedness, prevention and treatment strategies will be at the core of the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference. The conference has a tailor-made programme track for public health officials/policy makers, specifically designed to foster the exchange of knowledge and practice at the interface of science and health policy. The final tailor-made programme is now ready. Click here to download the full programme schedule.
ESWI has been working with WONCA Europe (the European branch of the world organization of national colleges and academies of general practitioners) since 2009. Both organizations share the objective to improve the management of influenza by general practitioners during seasonal and pandemic outbreaks of flu. This is urgently needed to solve the paradox where primary care physicians play a crucial role in protecting their patients from influenza infection by providing clear, scientific advice about the benefits of influenza vaccination for at-risk groups. But despite the scientific evidence as well as the efforts to encourage influenza vaccination, the overall vaccination rates among risk groups and healthcare workers remain low. A systematic overview of all aspects of influenza from the family physicians’ perspective is hence urgently needed and that is exactly why EUROPREV, a WONCA Special Interest Group dedicated to prevention and health promotion, and ESWI will join forces at the occasion of the WONCA 2017 conference in Prague (28 June – 1 July 2017). ESWI and EUROPREV will hold a joint symposium on 29 June 2017, gathering experts from various disciplines to discuss the crucial role of care physicians in influenza vaccination and to provide an overview of scientific arguments for primary care physicians to get the annual flu vaccine. The symposium will be chaired by EUROPREV’s Mateja Bulc and ESWI’s Ted van Essen.
View the symposium programme announcement here
Check the WONCA conference website here
15 May 2017 was the deadline for applications to obtain travel funding for the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference through the Young Scientist Fund. No less than 97 travel grant applications from early career scientists have been submitted and the Evaluation Committee is very pleased to have received so many outstanding entries. The decision process, however, will be challenging and therefore judging will be extended with an additional week. Applicants will be notified of acceptance of their submission no later than 8 June 2017.
Annually occurring influenza remains an important public health problem in Europe. The disease puts considerable pressure on health care services with increased general practice consultation rates, hospital admissions, and excess deaths. It also leads to increased days lost of absence from work and school.
Influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease and WHO recommends vaccination of prioritized groups, including young children (aged 6 to 59 months). Despite WHO recommendations, however, only five EU Member States recommend routine vaccination of healthy children. Obviously, diversity in vaccination recommendations translates in varying influenza vaccine uptake rates in priority groups in general and in children in particular.
Based on the observations above, ESWI developed a tailor-made colloquium programme for leaders in paediatrics, family doctors, paediatricians, public health officials, regulatory authorities and academic influenza researchers. It will address possible hurdles for childhood vaccination, compare the various influenza vaccination programmes and spark the debate on updated, well-balanced policies to better protect children against influenza.
The event will be held at the Faculty Club of the University of Leuven on 14 June 2017.
Participation in the colloquium is free of charge, but places are limited. Check the colloquium programme and register now to secure your seat.
Influenza remains a source of public health concern. Though the disease may not always be dominating the headlines, influenza confronts scientific researchers and policy experts with major challenges. In the 2016/17 season, for instance, influenza has put further strain on already besieged hospital services in many European countries, while the contagious H5N8 bird flu strain has had a major impact on the European poultry sector.
Since there is no time for complacency, the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference will provide a highly needed platform to discuss Europe’s preparedness and response for influenza outbreaks. Public health officials, policy makers and influenza experts are kindly invited to join the discussions in the Science Policy Interface at the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference.
The Science Policy Interface track is a separate programme specifically designed to foster the exchange of evidence and practice at the interface of science and health policy. In seven sessions, the world’s leading experts will address some of the most intriguing issues, while distinguished public health professionals will share their insights and experience.
The Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference offers early career scientists a unique opportunity to present their latest work, and to meet and foster collaborations with the international influenza community in a three days high-level conference totally dedicated to influenza.
If you are interested in attending the conference, you are welcome to apply for a travel and accommodation grant. ESWI will provide some 50 bursaries through the ESWI Young Scientist Fund. In fact, the call for applications has just been launched, so do not hesitate to apply and secure your support (deadline is 15 May 2017). Check https://eswi.org/influenzaconferences/young-scientists/ for a quick overview of the conditions and the application procedure.
The scientific quality of this year’s submissions for ESWI’s Best Body of Work Award was of an exceptionally high level. The Evaluation Committee members fully agreed that it is a great pleasure to see so many talented young flu researchers and to review their work. But it also made their task to assess the applications a complex and difficult one. After thorough deliberation, the Evaluation Committee members have decided to award the fourth edition of ESWI’s prize to Dr. Debby van Riel, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She will receive an invitation to speak during the Young Scientists Plenary session at the upcoming 6th ESWI Influenza Conference in Riga.
In light of the quality of their work, several applicants will be invited to co-chair a scientific session at the 2017 Riga Conference, as indeed, appointing promising scientists as programme session co-chairs is also part of ESWI’s objective to stimulate the careers of promising researchers.
Seasonal influenza is the most frequent vaccine preventable infectious disease in travellers. Yet, surprisingly, recommendations regarding influenza in travel medicine are scarce. It is therefore high time to harmonize international and national travel medicine guidelines for influenza prevention and treatment. To that end, an expert group of ESWI and ISTM (International Society for Travel Medicine) have reviewed existing flu recommendations for travellers, and listed some interesting suggestions for improvement. Our joint working group has now published its expert opinion paper “Travellers and influenza: risks and prevention” in the Journal for Travel Medicine. Get the full article (pdf) here.
14 December 2016 was the deadline for participation in the 2017 ESWI Best Body of Work Award competition. No less than 19 young scientists have entered the competition and from these entries one award winner will receive a cash award of €10,000 and an invitation to present at the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference (Riga, September 2017). Eight renowned influenza scientists have agreed to lend their name and expertise to the award and to evaluate the applications:
- Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA
- Yoshi Kawaoka, University of Wisconsin, USA
- Hans-Dieter Klenk , Marburg University, Germany
- Jonathan Yewdell, Laboratory of Viral Diseases, NIAID, USA
- Larisa Rudenko, Saint Petersburg Institute of Experimental Medicine, Russia
- Ron Fouchier, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- David Swayne, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Janet McElhaney, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Canada
This Evaluation Committee is currently assessing the submitted applications. The award winner will be announced on 1 February 2017.
ESWI launches the fourth edition of its Influenza Award for Young Scientists. The most promising body of work in flu research will be awarded a prize of €10,000 and an invitation to lecture at the Sixth ESWI Influenza Conference (Riga, 10-13 September 2017). The competition is open to all young scientists worldwide. Eligibility criteria are listed in this flyer. The Application Form is available here.