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Euro Surveill. 2009 Nov 12;14(45). pii: 19397.

Assessing the impact of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic on reporting of other threats through the Early Warning and Response System.

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  • 1European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Stockholm, Sweden.


Since the start of 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, a notable surge in messages communicated through the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in the European Union has been recorded. In order to measure the impact of this increase on the reporting of other events, we compared the messages posted in the EWRS since April 2009 with those posted in the previous years (2004-2008). The analysis revealed that a ten-fold increase in messages was recorded during the pandemic period, from April to September 2009, and that the reporting of other threats dropped to a significantly low rate. These results suggest an important impact on the notification process of events in case of a situation requiring extensive mobilisation of public health resources. It emphasises the importance keeping an appropriate balancing of resources during sustained emergencies, in particular in view of a possible second wave of pandemic influenza cases, to ensure prompt detection and reporting of potential concomitant emerging threats.

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