The information collected allows state health officials and CDC to monitor when and where influenza activity is occurring, determine the types of influenza viruses circulating and measure the impact influenza is having on the United States.
Currently a statistical, systematic approach to determining the amount of testing needed to support disease response and control efforts and policy decisions is lacking. This gap was highlighted during the initial weeks of the 2009 H1N1 response, when PHL’s were inundated with specimens with little or no ability to prioritize testing based on specific surveillance of a diagnostic criteria. Post-pandemic declining federal and state resources to support laboratory surveillance and the increasing shortages of laboratorians threaten the sustainability of current programs.
The primary goal of the Right Size Influenza Virologic Surveillance Project is to define the core capabilities and the optimal “right-size” for influenza virologic surveillance. Doing so will support key state, national and global surveillance requirements to inform policy decisions and disease prevention efforts. The project’s aim is to develop a strategic, scientifically based calculation to right-size all components of virologic surveillance. The calculation will effectively support seasonal needs and will be rapidly scalable for outbreak and pandemic scenarios. This project will provide a scientific justification for laboratory resources to reliably support influenza policy decisions. Implementation of right-size virologic surveillance guidelines will assist CDC and public health laboratories in maximizing available resources, redirecting and building new capacity as needed for optimal surveillance.