European external quality assessment programme for influenza virus 2018
Influenza epidemics occur every winter with high impact on disease burden, hospitalisations and excess mortality in countries in the WHO European Region. To understand the characteristics of circulating influenza viruses during seasonal epidemics, virological influenza surveillance is performed and detected viruses are further characterised at national influenza centres (NICs) that are part of the wider network of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). External quality assessments (EQAs) are important instruments in assessing the quality of the generated data that are reported nationally and internationally through The European Surveillance System (TESSy).
The overall performance of the participating laboratories was good. Certain laboratories are encouraged to enhance their testing performance by evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of the assays in place and apply necessary updates accordingly. Other issues (e.g. incorrect translation into TESSy categories) will be addressed jointly with ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe through training or adapting validation and analysis of data captured in TESSy (e.g. making better use of reported HA and NA sequences and organising/providing training, especially focusing on sequence analysis and interpretation and reporting).
External quality assessments (EQA)
ECDC is supporting a large number of targeted External Quality Assessment (EQA) schemes with voluntary participation by reference or primary laboratories, which are active members of EU surveillance networksRead more
Seasonal influenza is a preventable infectious disease with mostly respiratory symptoms. It is caused by influenza virus and is easily transmitted, predominantly via the droplet and contact routes and by indirect spread from respiratory secretions on hands etc.Read more