Challenges of Establishing Routine Influenza Sentinel Surveillance in Ethiopia, 2008–2010

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Ethiopia launched influenza surveillance in November 2008. By October 2010, 176 patients evaluated at 5 sentinel health facilities in Addis Ababa met case definitions for influenza-like illness or severe acute respiratory illness (SARI). Most patients (131 [74%]) were children aged 0–4 years. Twelve patients (7%) were positive for influenza virus. Most patients (109 [93%]) were aged <5 years, of whom only 3 (2.8%) had laboratory-confirmed influenza. Low awareness of influenza by healthcare workers, misperceptions regarding case definitions, and insufficient human resources at sites could have potentially led to many missed cases, resulting in suboptimal surveillance.

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