Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance is important to get insight into the burden of disease and epidemic pattern of RSV infection. This information is useful for healthcare resource allocation as well as the timing of preventive messages and palivizumab prophylaxis. For influenza surveillance the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS) was established in 1996, but no surveillance platform is available for RSV. To improve surveillance an RSV Task Group was established in 2003 and recommendations for RSV surveillance were developed. By 2008, progress was made for four out of six recommendations: the number of European countries testing specimens for RSV increased from six to fourteen; nose and/or throat swabs were generally used for detection of influenza and RSV; a total of 25 laboratories performed molecular testing for diagnosis and participated in a quality control assessment for RSV with an overall good performance; four of the ten countries that joined EISS in 2004 started reporting RSV detections in addition to influenza in the period 2004-8. Limited progress was achieved for standardising methods and the development of a sentinel surveillance system of representative hospitals. Improving RSV surveillance is possible by further harmonising the data collection and increased reporting of RSV.


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