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Background: In 2009, an improved influenza surveillance system was implemented and weekly reporting to the World Health Organization on influenza-like illness (ILI) began. The goals of the surveillance system are to monitor and analyse the intensity of influenza activity, to provide timely information about circulating strains and to help in establishing preventive and control measures. In addition, the system is useful for comparative analysis of influenza data from Montenegro with other countries.

Aim: We aimed to evaluate the performance and usefulness of the Moving Epidemic Method (MEM), for use in the influenza surveillance system in Montenegro.

Methods: Historical ILI data from 2010/11 to 2017/18 influenza seasons were modelled with MEM. Epidemic threshold for Montenegro 2017/18 season was calculated using incidence rates from 2010/11–2016/17 influenza seasons.

Results: Pre-epidemic ILI threshold per 100,000 population was 19.23, while the post-epidemic threshold was 17.55. Using MEM, we identified an epidemic of 10 weeks’ duration. The sensitivity of the MEM epidemic threshold in Montenegro was 89% and the warning signal specificity was 99%.

Conclusions: Our study marks the first attempt to determine the pre/post-epidemic threshold values for the epidemic period in Montenegro. The findings will allow a more detailed examination of the influenza-related epidemiological situation, timely detection of epidemic and contribute to the development of more efficient measures for disease prevention and control aimed at reducing the influenza-associated morbidity and mortality.


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