Influenza surveillance using data from a telemedicine centre

Int J Public Health. 2012 Apr;57(2):447-52. doi: 10.1007/s00038-011-0240-1. Epub 2011 Feb 12.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Pandemics / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Telemedicine / methods*