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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


CARVAJAL MUNOZ, Karla Patricia. Influenza in Costa Rica 2003-2006, a fundamental issue for the current epidemiological surveillance. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2010, vol.19, n.1, pp.25-29. ISSN 1409-1429.

Influenza causes approximately 3,5 million cases of severe illness each year worldwide. Objective: To describe and analyze the influenza epidemiological situation in the past four years in order to support enhancement of the influenza surveillance system in Costa Rica. Methods: A descriptive, retrospective study was conducted. Incidence and hospital discharge rates were calculated. Sources of data were: collective notification forms of the Ministry of Health, the hospital discharge data base of the Costa Rican Social Security system as well as the influenza surveillance forms of the National Influenza Center. Results: Since 2005 collective information has been gathered monthly, by province, by age-groups and sex. From 2005 through 2006, the highest rates were found in the months of March and May. Regarding hospital discharges, mobile averages showed that a peak was reached between June and September. Laboratory diagnoses were highest during the months of July through September. Discussion: Collective notification is higher in the first semester; nevertheless, hospital discharge rates are higher between June and September which match the peak reached by laboratory diagnoses for influenza virus; this may suggest seasonality but there is a lack of robust data to confirm this; therefore, we suggest conducting further seasonality studies. This study supports the development of guidelines for the influenza surveillance process in Costa Rica.

Keywords : influenza A virus; influenza B virus; sentinel surveillance; epidemiology; incidence.

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