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The European Influenza Surveillance Scheme [EISS] [2003204] - Project
General objectives

The general aim is to contribute to a reduction in the burden of disease associated with influenza in the area covered by EISS, by collecting and exchanging timely information on influenza activity, providing relevant information about influenza to health professionals and the general public, contributing to the annual determination of the influenza vaccine content and contributing to European influenza pandemic preparedness activities.
EISS was aiming at covering all EU Member States by 01.09.2006, the end of this contract period.

Strategic relevance and contribution to the public health programme

The European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS) is a dedicated and disease-specific European surveillance network co-financed to contribute, with regard to influenza information for the purposes of, the Community Network on epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases established by Decision 2119/98/EC. The main tasks are to report to the Community Network epidemiological data on influenza activity in the Community and to contribute to improving surveillance and laboratory preparedness for an influenza pandemic.

Methods and means

The participating institutions (primary care sentinel surveillance networks, virological laboratories, national influenza centres, and national infectious disease surveillance centres) report clinical cases of influenza-like illness and/or acute respiratory infection and virological test results to a central EISS database over the Internet (www.eiss.org). Data is entered each week and all members have access to the database. The database is the basis for the Weekly Electronic Bulletin.
The case definitions laid down by Commission Decision 2003/353/EC are used for reporting epidemiological data on influenza activity to the Community network on communicable diseases.
Annual meetings are organised to allow e.g. an exchange of information, the presentation of new initiatives and the integration of new members.
In addition, two Task Groups meetings per annum are held to deal with issues of importance to the EISS project. The findings/decisions of the Task Group are submitted to the EISS group, discussed at the plenary meeting and are then published.
EISS was also intended to extend its activities to all of the EU Member States, with an initial priority to include Finland, Austria and Greece.
Further development of the website and electronic data transfers from the EISS members to the EISS database and from the EISS database to the EC ‘Portal` and WHO (FluNet) were set up.
Laboratory quality control study was performed in 2004 by the Laboratoire de Virologie at the Université Claude Bernard in Lyon and a clinical surveillance quality control study was also performed.
A Community Network of Reference Laboratories (CNRL) for Human Influenza was established. A detailed inventory of laboratory methods in the individual laboratories of the CNRL is carried out to assess the level of pandemic planning preparedness. A laboratory testing procedure manual was written. Laboratories in the CNRL were encouraged to use the procedures described in the manual to enhance the quality of surveillance.
Standardized reagents database. Implementation of an ordering system on the EISS website that will provide CNRLs with readily available reagents used for routine surveillance and specialised analysis of emerging virus variants or potentially pandemic viruses.
Molecular database. Implementation of this database will enhance the possibilities to detect influenza virus strains drifting away from the vaccine strain and will allow the surveillance of antiviral resistance.
A ‘Who is who` and resources list was set up to make an inventory of laboratory capacities and facilities to give rapid access to qualified persons for specific needs as a contribution to influenza pandemic preparedness in Europe.
Pandemic outbreak protocol. This protocol will describe on the laboratory and epidemiological level what is needed to be prepared for an influenza pandemic. The laboratory protocol is tested by a simulation exercise.
Contacts with animal influenza surveillance schemes are made in order to exchange information important for humans in relation to a pandemic threat, and for harmonisation and standardisation of laboratory procedures.
New surveillance activities: EISS will initiate a number of new surveillance activities. These include a mapping project and the collection of data on vaccination uptake. Reports are published for each of these projects.
The EISS group presented at least one publication at the end of each influenza season (e.g. in Eurosurveillance).
Provide co-ordinated support, training, and knowledge-transfer to new national networks joining EISS, in particular in the New Member States.

Expected outcomes period

The progress of EISS can be evaluated on the basis of a number of specific outputs and deliverables provided during the influenza seasons 2003/2004, 2004/2005 and 2005/2006:
- Reports to the Community Network, once a procedure is established;
- Coverage of all Member States by 01.09.2006
- The publication of the Weekly Electronic Bulletin on the EISS website (www.eiss.org) during each influenza season on a weekly basis. This bulletin summarises influenza activity (clinical and virological) in the area covered by EISS.
- At the end of each influenza season, publication of a manuscript describing the influenza activity in Europe.
- The publication of an Annual Report.
- Project reports.
- Protocols and reports on the operation of the Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human Influenza in Europe;
- Establishment of a comprehensive database which includes clinical, virological and , antiviral resistance and molecular data that allows a better and more advanced analysis (e.g. modelling) of the impact of influenza an d the burden of disease; this database will be fully accessible to the members of the Community Network and to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
- The laboratory testing procedures manual.
- The new databases (standardised reagents database and molecular data database) will be added to the existing databases that EISS manages.
- The EISS List of Resources and Outbreak Protocol will be available to EISS members and to the members of the Community Network and the ECDC, but may not be made available to the general public;
- A discussion forum will be added to the EISS website
- EISS presents more information/data on other respiratory viruses of importance on the EISS website e.g. RSV and, possibly also, SARS coronavirus activity only where necessary in order to facilitate and support differential diagnosis for influenza;
EISS has a policy of making public data/information via its website, where appropriate, . Except for the list of resources and the outbreak protocol, all of the deliverables listed above will be published on the EISS website.

Details
Start date: 01/09/2003
End date: 01/09/2006
Duration: 36 month(s)
Current status: Finalised
Programme title: First Programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008)
EC Contribution: € 1 439 790,00