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Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Aug;15(8):1271-8. doi: 10.3201/eid1508.081422.

Strategy to enhance influenza surveillance worldwide.

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University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


The emergence of a novel strain of influenza virus A (H1N1) in April 2009 focused attention on influenza surveillance capabilities worldwide. In consultations before the 2009 outbreak of influenza subtype H1N1, the World Health Organization had concluded that the world was unprepared to respond to an influenza pandemic, due in part to inadequate global surveillance and response capacity. We describe a sentinel surveillance system that could enhance the quality of influenza epidemiologic and laboratory data and strengthen a country's capacity for seasonal, novel, and pandemic influenza detection and prevention. Such a system would 1) provide data for a better understanding of the epidemiology and extent of seasonal influenza, 2) provide a platform for the study of other acute febrile respiratory illnesses, 3) provide virus isolates for the development of vaccines, 4) inform local pandemic planning and vaccine policy, 5) monitor influenza epidemics and pandemics, and 6) provide infrastructure for an early warning system for outbreaks of new virus subtypes.

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