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Pilot study to harmonize the reported influenza intensity levels within the Spanish Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System (SISSS) using the Moving Epidemic Method (MEM)

  • M. BANGERT (a1) (a2), H. GIL (a1) (a2), J. OLIVA (a3) (a4), C. DELGADO (a3) (a4), T. VEGA (a5), S. DE MATEO (a3) (a4), A. LARRAURI (a3) (a4) and the Epidemiology Working Group of the Spanish Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System...
Summary

The intensity of annual Spanish influenza activity is currently estimated from historical data of the Spanish Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System (SISSS) using qualitative indicators from the European Influenza Surveillance Network. However, these indicators are subjective, based on qualitative comparison with historical data of influenza-like illness rates. This pilot study assesses the implementation of Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) intensity levels during the 2014–2015 influenza season within the 17 sentinel networks covered by SISSS, comparing them to historically reported indicators. Intensity levels reported and those obtained with MEM at the epidemic peak of the influenza wave, and at national and regional levels did not show statistical difference (P = 0·74, Wilcoxon signed-rank test), suggesting that the implementation of MEM would have limited disrupting effects on the dynamic of notification within the surveillance system. MEM allows objective influenza surveillance monitoring and standardization of criteria for comparing the intensity of influenza epidemics in regions in Spain. Following this pilot study, MEM has been adopted to harmonize the reporting of intensity levels of influenza activity in Spain, starting in the 2015–2016 season.

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Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr A. Larrauri, Centro Nacional de Epidemiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Monforte de Lemos 5, 28029 Madrid. (Email: alarrauri@isciii.es)
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† These authors contributed equally to this work.
‡ Members of the Epidemiology Working Group of the SISSS are given in the Appendix.
Footnotes
References
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
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