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In Poland, a surveillance system capturing generic information on both diagnosed and undiagnosed aseptic central nervous system infections (ACI) has been in operation since 1966. This study evaluates to what extent the ACI surveillance is able to meet its objectives to monitor ACI trends and to detect signals of public health importance such as enteroviral outbreaks, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) endemic foci, poliovirus appearance or emergence of new neurotropic viruses. Between 2004 and 2008, aetiology was established for 17% of ACI cases. Of the 1,994 reported ACI cases, 232 (11.6%) were diagnosed with TBE virus, 46 (2.3%) with enterovirus, 35 (1.8%) with herpesvirus, and 32 (1.6%) had other viral causes such as Epstein Barr virus or adenovirus. The system's performance varied between the provinces, with the frequency of suspected ACI cases referred for viral aetiology investigation in 2008 ranging from 1.98 to 285.4 samples per million inhabitants. The sensitivity of physicians' reporting, estimated as the proportion of hospitalised ACI cases reported to the surveillance system, was 48% nationally, with vast regional differences (range 30-91%). To conclude, the ACI surveillance system in Poland does currently not meet its objectives, due to limited availability of aetiological diagnosis and microbiological confirmation and to regional differences in reporting sensitivity. .


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