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Bigger and Better? Representativeness of the Influenza A Surveillance Using One Consolidated Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Data Set as Compared to the Belgian Sentinel Network of Laboratories

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  • Bigger and Better? Representativeness of the Influenza A Surveillance Using One Consolidated Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Data Set as Compared to the Belgian Sentinel Network of Laboratories

    Front Public Health. 2019 Jun 18;7:150. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00150. eCollection 2019.
    Bigger and Better? Representativeness of the Influenza A Surveillance Using One Consolidated Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Data Set as Compared to the Belgian Sentinel Network of Laboratories.

    Van den Wijngaert S1, Bossuyt N2, Ferns B3,4, Busson L1, Serrano G5, Wautier M1, Thomas I6, Byott M7, Dupont Y2, Nastouli E3,8, Hallin M1, Kozlakidis Z7,9, Vandenberg O5,7,10.
    Author information

    Abstract

    Infectious diseases remain a serious public health concern globally, while the need for reliable and representative surveillance systems remains as acute as ever. The public health surveillance of infectious diseases uses reported positive results from sentinel clinical laboratories or laboratory networks, to survey the presence of specific microbial agents known to constitute a threat to public health in a given population. This monitoring activity is commonly based on a representative fraction of the microbiology laboratories nationally reporting to a single central reference point. However, in recent years a number of clinical microbiology laboratories (CML) have undergone a process of consolidation involving a shift toward laboratory amalgamation and closer real-time informational linkage. This report aims to investigate whether such merging activities might have a potential impact on infectious diseases surveillance. Influenza data was used from Belgian public health surveillance 2014-2017, to evaluate whether national infection trends could be estimated equally as effectively from only just one centralized CML serving the wider Brussels area (LHUB-ULB). The overall comparison reveals that there is a close correlation and representativeness of the LHUB-ULB data to the national and international data for the same time periods, both on epidemiological and molecular grounds. Notably, the effectiveness of the LHUB-ULB surveillance remains partially subject to local regional variations. A subset of the Influenza samples had their whole genome sequenced so that the observed epidemiological trends could be correlated to molecular observations from the same period, as an added-value proposition. These results illustrate that the real-time integration of high-throughput whole genome sequencing platforms available in consolidated CMLs into the public health surveillance system is not only credible but also advantageous to use for future surveillance and prediction purposes. This can be most effective when implemented for automatic detection systems that might include multiple layers of information and timely implementation of control strategies.


    KEYWORDS:

    Belgium; clinical microbiology laboratory; influenza A; sequencing; surveillance

    PMID: 31275914 PMCID: PMC6591264 DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00150
    Free PMC Article
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