Influenza Surveillance through Sentinel Reporting Clinics
T. Shohat, N. Versano, A. Kiro, G. Golan, E. Mendelson, M. Weingarten
For the Influenza Surveillance Network: Israel Center for Disease Control, Israel National Laboratory for Influenza and Central Virology Laboratory; Netka Child Health Center and Dept. of Family Medicine, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tikva
In a joint effort of the Israel Center for Disease Control, the National Center for Influenza in the Central Virology Laboratory, together with a group of collaborating pediatricians and family physicians, a network for influenza surveillance was established in the winter of 1996-97. Nose and throat swabs were obtained from 571 patients with flu-like illness. 133 (23%) were positive for influenza virus. Both influenza A(H3N2) and B were isolated, predominantly influenza B during the beginning of the season. Both circulating strains were antigenically similar to those included in the vaccine for 1996-1997. Patients from whom influenza virus was isolated were significantly more likely to suffer from cough and myalgia in comparison with patients whose cultures were negative (p=0.02 and 0.003. respectively). Results of the first year of surveillance indicate that sentinel reporting clinics are useful for timely detection and identification of the viral strains circulating in the community, thus allowing prompt intervention in preventing the spread of influenza. Conclusions from the first year of the study were drawn and applied in the winter of 1997-1998.