A new laboratory-based surveillance system (Respiratory DataMart System) for influenza and other respiratory viruses in England: results and experience from 2009 to 2012

Euro Surveill. 2014 Jan 23;19(3):20680. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.es2014.19.3.20680.


During the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, a new laboratory-based virological sentinel surveillance system, the Respiratory DataMart System (RDMS), was established in a network of 14 Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England (PHE)) and National Health Service (NHS) laboratories in England. Laboratory results (both positive and negative) were systematically collected from all routinely tested clinical respiratory samples for a range of respiratory viruses including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus and human metapneumovirus (hMPV). The RDMS also monitored the occurrence of antiviral resistance of influenza viruses. Data from the RDMS for the 2009–2012 period showed that the 2009 pandemic influenza virus caused three waves of activity with different intensities during the pandemic and post pandemic periods. Peaks in influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 positivity (defined as number of positive samples per total number of samples tested) were seen in summer and autumn in 2009, with slightly higher peak positivity observed in the first post-pandemic season in 2010/2011. The influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus strain almost completely disappeared in the second postpandemic season in 2011/2012. The RDMS findings are consistent with other existing community-based virological and clinical surveillance systems. With a large sample size, this new system provides a robust supplementary mechanism, through the collection of routinely available laboratory data at minimum extra cost, to monitor influenza as well as other respiratory virus activity. A near real-time, daily reporting mechanism in the RDMS was established during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Furthermore, this system can be quickly adapted and used to monitor future influenza pandemics and other major outbreaks of respiratory infectious disease, including novel pathogens.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / diagnosis*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Laboratories / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mandatory Reporting
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Seasons
  • Sentinel Surveillance*
  • Young Adult