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Title: Influenza surveillance in Europe: establishing epidemic thresholds by the Moving Epidemic Method
Author: Vega, Tomás
Lozano, Jose Eugenio
Meerhoff, Tamara
Snacken, René
Mott, Joshua
Ortiz de Lejarazu, Raul
Nunes, Baltazar
Keywords: Epidemiology
Determinantes da Saúde e da Doença
Issue Date: 16-Aug-2012
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Citation: Influenza Other Respi Viruses. 2012 Aug 16. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2012.00422.x
Abstract: Background  Timely influenza surveillance is important to monitor influenza epidemics. Objectives  (i) To calculate the epidemic threshold for influenza-like illness (ILI) and acute respiratory infections (ARI) in 19 countries, as well as the thresholds for different levels of intensity. (ii) To evaluate the performance of these thresholds. Methods  The moving epidemic method (MEM) has been developed to determine the baseline influenza activity and an epidemic threshold. False alerts, detection lags and timeliness of the detection of epidemics were calculated. The performance was evaluated using a cross-validation procedure. Results  The overall sensitivity of the MEM threshold was 71·8% and the specificity was 95·5%. The median of the timeliness was 1 week (range: 0–4·5). Conclusions  The method produced a robust and specific signal to detect influenza epidemics. The good balance between the sensitivity and specificity of the epidemic threshold to detect seasonal epidemics and avoid false alerts has advantages for public health purposes. This method may serve as standard to define the start of the annual influenza epidemic in countries in Europe.
Peer review: yes
ISSN: 1750-2640
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Appears in Collections:DEP - Artigos em revistas internacionais

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