Mar 5, 2024 | International News

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe have jointly developed the European Respiratory Virus Surveillance Summary (ERVISS) for the early detection of respiratory viruses, circulating in the EU/EEA and WHO European region.

By providing a concise summary of the epidemiological and virological situation for respiratory virus infections, ERVISS supports public health decision-makers to take timely, well-informed decisions to limit the impact on healthcare systems and the wider public. Where available, ERVISS also presents laboratory testing and virus characterisation data for circulating pathogens, such as determining virus type/subtype/strain, susceptibility to antivirals and similarity to available vaccines.

SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus 2) demonstrated that novel respiratory pathogens with pandemic potential may emerge at any time, and the co-circulation of respiratory viruses can put heavy pressure on healthcare systems.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, surveillance activities for respiratory infections in the EU/EEA largely centred around the monitoring of influenza virus circulation. However, the pandemic led to many countries either expanding their existing respiratory infection surveillance systems or developing new ones.

Over the past year, there has been a concerted effort to transition from unsustainable mass testing approaches applied during the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, to an integrated respiratory virus surveillance approach capable of monitoring multiple pathogens.

The aim has been to leverage some of the improvements to surveillance systems at country level, and to develop a standard approach to jointly monitor influenza, RSV and SARS-CoV-2, as these viruses are expected to co-circulate in the coming years.

Within the EU/EEA and European region, countries have been asked to strengthen ‘syndromic surveillance’ of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms to primary and secondary care, reporting information from representative sites on a weekly basis.

Amongst those that present with symptoms at such sites, WHO and ECDC request that testing be carried out for a range of respiratory viruses, including influenza, RSV and SARS-CoV-2. This information is now captured and presented in the European Respiratory Virus Surveillance Summary.

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