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Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2011 Nov;5(6):e479-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00248.x. Epub 2011 Apr 18.

Attempted early detection of influenza A (H1N1) pandemic with surveillance data of influenza-like illness and unexplained pneumonia.

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1
Wuxi Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Wuxi, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To collect disease information and provide data for early detection of epidemics, two surveillance systems were established for influenza-like illness (ILI) and unexplained pneumonia (UP) in Wuxi, People's Republic of China.

OBJECTIVES:

The current study aims to describe the performance of these surveillance systems during 2004-2009 and to evaluate the value of surveillance data in detection of influenza epidemics.

METHODS:

Two national ILI sentinel hospitals and three UP sentinel hospitals provided data to the surveillance systems. The surveillance data from hospital-based outpatient clinics and emergency rooms were compared by year. The ILI data of 2009 were further modeled based on previous data using both a control chart method and a moving average regression method. Alarms of potential epidemics would be raised when the input surveillance data surpassed a threshold.

RESULTS:

In 2009, the proportions of ILI and respiratory illness with fever (one surveillance syndrome of the UP system) to total patient visits (3·40% and 11·76%, respectively) were higher than the previous years. The surveillance data of both systems also showed developing trends similar to the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in 2009. When the surveillance data of 2009 were fitted in the two detection models, alarms were produced on the occurrence of the first local case of influenza A (H1N1), outbreaks in schools and in general populations.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results indicated the potential for using ILI and UP surveillance data as syndromic indicators to detect and provide an early warning for influenza epidemics.

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