Diabetes and Influenza

ESWI - European Scientific Working Group on Influenza

ESWI is a partnership organisation of not-for-profit organisations, institute, public health authorities and the pharmaceutical sector involved in influenza (manufacturers of influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs). This partnership has the specific aim to prevent premature mortality, morbidity, and disability caused by influenza, by giving special attention to policies and behavioural change.

ESWI's mission is to reduce the burden of influenza in Europe by promoting stakeholder management as well as changes in attitude and behaviour towards influenza intervention strategies.

Diabetes and Influenza

People with diabetes are six times more likely to be hospitalized with influenza during flu epidemics.

European health care systems are among the best in the world. And yet, in Europe, the influenza disease still claims more lives than traffic accidents. In fact, hospitalizations and deaths after an influenza infection mainly occur in at-risk groups: the elderly population and people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes. Indeed, people with diabetes are six times more likely to be hospitalized with influenza during flu epidemics. Mortality is particularly high when additional risk factors exist, especially cardiovascular disease and being over 65 years of age.

Influenza, however, is a preventable disease and the protection of the ‘risk groups’ against influenza can and must be improved. Indeed, influenza deaths are avoidable and therefore every influenza victim is one too many. Influenza vaccines have been used for more than 40 years now and have proven to be very safe and effective. For that reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends routine vaccination of at-risk groups and it urges countries to vaccinate at least 75% of those groups. Unfortunately, very few countries achieve this target.

IDF Europe, as a partner organization of the scientific working group, and ESWI aim to identify ways to maximize the protection of diabetes patients against influenza.


Below you will find links to downloadable videos to raise awareness on the flu epidemic and influenza and diabetes. IDF Europe strongly encourages you to disseminate these to as many stakeholders as you can.
  • Diabetes and the Flu: short clip on the risks of influenza for people living with diabetes. Watch it here.
  • Influenza: Aiming at a Moving Target: The film covers all aspects of the disease, ranging from the characteristics of the flu virus itself to the impact of pandemic and epidemic influenza. Watch it here.


Web Resources

For more information, please visit:

•    www.eswi.org
•    www.flucentre.org