Currently submitted to: JMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Date Submitted: Nov 28, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Nov 28, 2019 - Dec 12, 2019
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Online Influenza Surveillance System among Primary Care Workers in Switzerland: Feasibility Study
A better understanding of influenza epidemiology among primary care workers could guide future recommendations to prevent transmission in this setting. Therefore, we designed a pilot study to assess the feasibility of a work-based online influenza surveillance system among primary care workers.
Conducting a work-based online influenza surveillance system among primary care workers.
Physicians and staff of one walk-in clinic and two selected primary care practices were enrolled in an observational prospective pilot study during 2017-2018 influenza season. They were invited to record symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) in a weekly online survey sent by email and to self-collect a nasopharyngeal swab in case of symptoms. Samples were tested by RT-PCR for influenza A and B and for a panel of respiratory pathogens.
Among eligible staff members, 58.2% consented to the study and 53.7% finally provided data. From the time all participants were included, the weekly survey response rate stayed close to 100% until the end of the study. Out of 79 symptomatic episodes (mean 2.2 per participant), 10 fitted the ILI case definition (attak rate 19.4%). One swab was positive for Influenza A H1N1 (attak rate 2.8%, 95CI 0.4% - 18.3%). Swabbing was considered relatively easy.
A work-based online influenza surveillance system is feasible among primary care workers. This promising methodology can be used in future broader studies in order to improve the understanding of influenza epidemiology in the primary care setting and guide future recommendations to prevent transmission. A larger study should also help to assess asymptomatic infections.
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