The World Health Organization has recommended to integrate COVID-19 surveillance in a sentinel surveillance for influenza like-illness (ILI). ILI (such as flu and other respiratory infections) and COVID-19 represent a significant burden for the nursing home (NH) population. Hence, a surveillance in this subpopulation is necessary to monitor ILI for alarm signs of sudden rise in cases, hospital admissions and deaths.
The objective of the study is to signal and monitor start, duration and intensity of influenza-like illness or ILI (including COVID-19) waves/appearances among NH residents to optimize and support provided health-care, -planning, -management and -policies. In addition, we monitor locally circulating virus types/subtypes or lineages/sub-lineages and their relationship to global and regional patterns.
This study is an prospective observational surveillance with a desired network of 40 NH that participate voluntarily. This surveillance consists of two components
- a clinical/epidemiological: in this part of the surveillance, the number of ILI cases and ILI-related hospital admissions and deaths are reported weekly throughout the year.
- a virological component: when an alarming increase in ILI activity is observed, the virological component is initiated. In this part of the surveillance, nasopharyngeal samples are taken from residents of the NH for virus typing.
- Incidence of ILI cases, ILI-related hospital admissions and deaths in NH
- Virus typing of nasopharyngeal samples collected from NH residents (with ILI case): SARS-CoV-2, influenza, RSV-A, RSV-B, hMPV, PIV-1, PIV-2, PIV-3, PIV-4, adenovirus and rhinovirus.
The ILI NH, general practitioner and hospital surveillance data will be reported together, giving a comprehensive view of the ILI incidence in the Belgian population.
For a more detailed overview of this surveillance, consult our protocol.
In the figure below an overview is given of the nursing homes that are currently participating in the ILI surveillance.
If you are interested in participating to this surveillance as a nursing home, please contact Milena.Callies@sciensano.be or Els.Duysburgh@sciensano.be.
The results are reported in the weekly flu bulletin.