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Virological NIVEL/RIVM-surveillance of respiratory virus infections in the season 1995/96

Virologische NIVEL/RIVM-surveillance van respiratoire virusinfecties in het seizoen 1995/96

Synopsis

The purpose of the NIVEL/RIVM surveillance of respiratory virus infections is to clarify the etiology of acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) at the level of patients who consult their family doctor. Since the season of 1992/93, the general practitioners (GPs) participating in the nation-wide sentinel network of the Netherlands institute of primary health care (NIVEL) sent nose/throat swabs from their patients with ARI to the RIVM. At RIVM, these swabs were examined for the presence of viruses by virus culture. This surveillance provides more accurate information on the etiology of ARI in the general population than the results of the diagnostic laboratories, which are mainly dealing with specimens from hospitalised patients. A temporary increase of the rate of positive samples - especially yielding rhinoviruses - was noted in September, coinciding with the opening of schools at the end of August. The influenza epidemic of the season of 1995/96 started early and was of a moderate size. In the Netherlands and in a number of other countries, subtype A(H3N2) virus predominated.
 

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