Objectives: This study aimed at investigating whether data from medical teleconsultations may contribute to influenza surveillance.
Methods: International Classification of Primary Care 2nd Edition (ICPC-2) codes were used to analyse the proportion of teleconsultations due to influenza-related symptoms. Results were compared with the weekly Swiss Sentinel reports.
Results: When using the ICPC-2 code for fever we could reproduce the seasonal influenza peaks of the winter seasons 07/08, 08/09 and 09/10 as depicted by the Sentinel data. For the pandemic influenza 09/10, we detected a much higher first peak in summer 2009 which correlated with a potential underreporting in the Sentinel system.
Conclusions: ICPC-2 data from medical teleconsultations allows influenza surveillance in real time and correlates very well with the Swiss Sentinel system.