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Commun Dis Public Health. 2002 Mar;5(1):17-22.

Local surveillance of influenza in the United Kingdom: from sentinel general practices to sentinel cities?

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Department of Public Health, Liverpool Health Authority.


Surveillance of influenza in England and Wales utilises a disparate geographical network of general practices to provide clinical data in the form of weekly consultation rates for influenza and 'influenza-like illness'. This network accurately detects and monitors seasonal influenza activity at national and supra-regional levels. Localised regional and sub-regional epidemics are less easily detected. We describe a localised epidemic of influenza affecting a deprived urban community in the North West of England that was detected by a close knit network of general practices participating in the surveillance of communicable diseases as part of a primary care health needs assessment initiative.

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