General practitioners play an important role in the detection and
clinical management of influenza. The Australian Sentinel Practice
Research Network (ASPREN) has been collecting data from sentinel
GPs on selected conditions, including influenza-like illness (ILI),
since 1991 to inform public health authorities of communicable
disease activity in the community.
Weekly incidence of ILI data reported by ASPREN GPs in 2007–2008
was compared with data from two separate surveillance systems:
New South Wales data from FluTracking, an online self reporting
ILI surveillance system; and national laboratory notifications of
influenza reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance
System between 2003 and 2008.
ASPREN recorded peak ILI rates of 47 per 1000 consultations in
week 30 (ending 29 July) 2007 and 34 per 1000 consultations in week
36 (ending 7 September) 2008. Similar trends in incidence were
seen in FluTracking cough and fever rates, ASPREN data in New
South Wales and National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System
Data captured by the three separate surveillance systems provide
complementary information regarding influenza in the Australian
Public health surveillance systems are fundamental to the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Data obtained by sentinel surveillance systems may be used to inform public health decision making, priority setting and subsequent action.1
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