Surveillance report Open Access
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Limited information is available on the viral aetiology of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Southern European countries. Hereby we report the main findings of a survey conducted in the area of Rome during the 2004-2005 winter season. ILI cases were defined as individuals with fever >37.5°C and at least one constitutional symptom and one respiratory symptom, recruited during the survey period. Influenza and other respiratory viruses were identified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on throat swabs. Basic individual information was collected through a standard form. Of 173 ILI cases enrolled, 74 tested positive for one virus, and two tested positive for two viruses. Overall, 33.5% of the cases were positive for influenza viruses, 5.2% for adenoviruses, 3.5% for parainfluenza viruses, 1.7% for coronaviruses, and 1.2% for the respiratory syncitial virus. The proportion of influenza virus detection was higher in the ‘high influenza activity’ period. The distribution of viral agents varied across age groups, influenza viruses being more likely to be detected in younger patients. Viral pathogens were identified in less than 50% of ILI cases occurred during a high activity influenza season. The detection of other than influenza viruses was sporadic, without evidence of large outbreaks due to specific agents.


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