OJPHI: Vol. 5
Journal Information
Journal ID (publisher-id): OJPHI
ISSN: 1947-2579
Publisher: University of Illinois at Chicago Library
Article Information
©2013 the author(s)
open-access: This is an Open Access article. Authors own copyright of their articles appearing in the Online Journal of Public Health Informatics. Readers may copy articles without permission of the copyright owner(s), as long as the author and OJPHI are acknowledged in the copy and the copy is used for educational, not-for-profit purposes.
Electronic publication date: Day: 4 Month: 4 Year: 2013
collection publication date: Year: 2013
Volume: 5E-location ID: e169
Publisher Id: ojphi-05-169

Can Novel Flu Surveillance Be Conducted With Limited Resources?
Alan Siniscalchi*1
Amanda Schulte2
1State of CT Dept of Public Health, Hartford, CT, USA;
2International Society for Disease Surveillance, Boston, MA, USA
*Alan Siniscalchi, E-mail: alan.siniscalchi@ct.gov


This project was organized to facilitate discussions on whether successful novel flu surveillance can be conducted by jurisdictions with limited resources. The discussions will focus on gathering opinions regarding the best combination of surveillance systems to quickly and efficiently identify the presence of influenza A (H3N2)v and other novel influenza viruses in circulation.


The past decade has witnessed rapid development and implementation of numerous syndromic and other advanced surveillance systems to supplement traditional laboratory testing to identify the presence of novel influenza strains and track the impact on local populations. While much of the development and widespread implementation of these systems had been supported by public health preparedness funding, the loss of these monies has greatly constrained the ability of public health agencies to staff and maintain these systems. The periodic appearance of novel flu viruses, such as H3N2v, requires agencies to carefully choose which systems will provide the most cost-effective data to support their public health practice.


This project will be facilitated by an experienced public health practitioner who has conducted surveillance for a variety of disease agents. Additional public health practitioners are being recruited among members of the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) Public Health Practice Committee (PHPC) to contribute information on comparative approaches to cost effective surveillance. Questions were selected for discussion and responses will be collected from influenza surveillance coordinators using a web-based survey tool managed by ISDS staff on behalf of the PHPC. Survey responses and subsequent recommendations will be presented at a PHPC meeting.


Initial questions selected for the survey tool and subsequent discussions include: What surveillance systems does your agency use for conducting influenza surveillance?

Which surveillance systems require trained and experienced public health and informatics staff to maintain?

Is your agency having difficulties in recruiting and retaining trained surveillance staff?

Has influenza A (H3N2)v been identified in your state or jurisdiction?

Does your agency have sufficient staff and other resources to be able to conduct targeted surveillance of novel influenza strains, such as identifying H3N2v cases associated with agricultural fairs or school surveillance for ILI cases?

Which surveillance systems provide useful data for monitoring health impact during seasons with highly pathological influenza strains?

Which surveillance systems provide useful data for identifying the presence of novel influenza strains and conducting situational awareness?

Article Categories:
  • ISDS 2012 Conference Abstracts

Keywords: situational awareness, influenza surveillance, H3N2v, resource limitations.

Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 * http://ojphi.org