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Evaluation of Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System, Saudi Arabia, 2017-2018


Influenza is a very contagious viral disease represented by fever, cough, Influenza type A, and B is the main types responsible of the widespread infection, morbidity, and mortality around the world, with no known subtyped Virus B were identified, there is 15 hemagglutinin (HA) and 9 neuraminidase (NA) currently identified as subtypes of type A, In Saudi Arabia, there is a national sentinel surveillance system for (SARI) that is conducted and supervised by ministry of health (MOH) with 50 sites across the kingdom.


All patients enrolled in EMFLU (Eastern Mediterranean Flu is a regional platform for sharing data on influenza in the WHO), also all staff working in the sentinel surveillance system based on CDC's 2001 updated guidelines for evaluating surveillance systems.


During 2017-2018 period 10601 cases enrolled in EMFLU as SARI cases, of which 5378 (51%) cases meet the case definition of SARI, the most affected age Group was from 16 to 50 years old [846(31.7%) in 2017, and 2367(30.3%) in 2018], and regarding gender male patients was slightly higher in both years Regarding Surveillance staff collected data, 722 members filled the questioner out of 726 members with a response rate of 99.45%.


In the highlighted time period between 2017-2018, 10601 cases enrolled to EMFLU as SARI cases, and out of these cases 5378 met the cases definition of SARI, The Saudi MOH started SARI sentinel surveillance system in 2017 with 11 sites, and expanded to 50 sites in 2018. The evaluation if the system is according to the CDC 9 attributes, the Saudi SARI sentinel surveillance system is a new system and can be improved by time. Influenza Surveillance system in needed in Saudi Arabia, and as the system is new, it grows rapidly in 2 years period, but there is limitations noticed in the system which can be easily avoided, one of which is the "presence of symptoms" in EMFLU.