Print version ISSN 0213-9111
MATEO, Salvador de; LARRAURI, Amparo and MESONERO, Carmen. Influenza surveillance: new solutions to an old problem. Gac Sanit [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.1, pp. 67-73. ISSN 0213-9111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112006000100013.
The pandemic potential of influenza has made this disease the principal target of both national and international surveillance systems. The intrinsic characteristics of sentinel networks enable them to integrate epidemiological and virological information of a high incidence disease such as influenza, so helping in the early detection and characterization of the circulating influenza viruses and in evaluating their spread capacity in the population. A sentinel network, which covers 75% of the population, was created in Spain more than ten years ago. This provides a new approach to human influenza surveillance based on the individualized reporting of each case and the linkage of clinical, epidemiological and virological data. This system has contributed to a more accurate evaluation of influenza activity in Spain. In spite of the limitations of this sentinel system, which mainly derive from the lack of representativeness that any surveillance system based on population samples can encounter, it provides data which have proved useful for the follow-up and control of influenza. Rapid information transmission is one of the main advantages of the system, allowing its integration in the international disease surveillance networks and improving the timeliness of both information spread and formulation of recommendations.
Keywords : Influenza; Surveillance; Sentinel networks.