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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006 Jun;4(3):387-93.

Global monitoring of influenza: potential contribution of national networks from a French perspective.

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WHO Collaborating Center for Electronic Disease Surveillance, Inserm unit 707, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 27 rue Chaligny, F-75571 Paris cedex 12, France.


The aim of global monitoring of influenza is to help decision making in regular seasonal influenza and in the case of a new pandemic. FluNet is the main tool for information sharing among the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network, as well as the public. It allows 112 WHO National Influenza Centers in 83 countries access to remote data entry. Weekly information on recent isolates and epidemiological situations are available to the public through many functionalities, for example, maps (animated or static), charts and raw data are embedded in the system for data display. Thus far, FluNet has collected weekly influenza surveillance data from up to 1997. A major outcome of this global network is the influenza vaccine composition, which is proposed twice a year (i.e., for both hemispheres) on the basis of the collected data. However, FluNet is far from performing comprehensive monitoring of influenza at a global level; 109 WHO member states still do not participate in the network and participating national influenza centers have only limited resources, which do not allow them to implement a reliable, accurate and real-time epidemiology of influenza in the areas they deserve. By following the time and space dynamics of an influenza strain, an epidemiologically valid system would make assessment of decisions after adopting preventive measures (e.g., closing schools, travel restriction, use of antivirals or of protective masks and mass immunization) possible. This international cooperation in public health fields must be considerably reinforced in the future, and should encourage database linkage with environmental information, allowing for the evaluation of the role of climate change, animal behavior or pollution involvement in disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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