​APHL promotes the role of public health laboratories in the detection and surveillance of influenza.

Public health laboratories are a key component of the national influenza surveillance system. Using diagnostics and other techniques, they provide valuable data about the influenza viruses circulating across the country. This data helps characterize the strains circulating and informs the selection of strains to be included in the annual influenza vaccine. Public health laboratories also provide representative influenza samples to CDC for further characterization and for use in vaccine development.

Most public health laboratories use the CDC Human Influenza Real-Time RT-PCR Detection and Characteristic Panel, a highly sensitive molecular assay that yields definitive results within a few hours. Many also perform traditional virus culture, which allows for further characterization and antiviral resistance testing.

State and some local public health laboratories submit a representative sample of influenza specimens to three public health laboratories contracted to perform virus culture and antiviral resistance testing. Test results feed directly into national surveillance data. In addition, thirty public health laboratories detect markers of influenza antiviral resistance.

To see how national surveillance data is used, visit CDC’s FluView website for weekly updates.

Some US public health laboratories are National Influenza Centers for the World Health Organization (WHO). Visit the WHO FluNet website for information on international influenza activity.

Additional Surveillance Resources

Canada's Influenza Surveillance - FluWatch

WHO European Region Influenza Surveillance

European Center for Disease Prevention and Control Weekly Influenza Surveillance

Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data in a model created in collaboration with CDC to estimate influenza activity in the United States.

Distribute Project provides syndromic surveillance information based on the number of emergency department visits for influenza like illness (ILI) per week.

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