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Human influenza surveillance: the demand to expand


The World Health Organization Influenza Program is one of the best developed and longest running infectious disease surveillance systems that exists. It maintains a worldwide watch of influenza's evolution to assist delivery of appropriately formulated vaccines in time to blunt seasonal epidemics and unpredictable pandemics. Despite the program's success, however, much more is possible with today's advanced technologies. This article summarizes ongoing human influenza surveillance activities worldwide. It shows that the technology to establish a high-throughput laboratory network that can process and test influenza viruses more quickly and more accurately is available. It also emphasizes the practical public health and scientific applications of such a network.

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