Outpatient influenza antivirals in a distributed data network for influenza surveillance

Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2018 Nov;12(6):804-807. doi: 10.1111/irv.12598. Epub 2018 Aug 22.


Electronic data collected from routine health care can be used for public health surveillance. To examine the Sentinel System, a distributed data network of health plans, as a source for influenza surveillance, we compared trends in outpatient prescription dispensings of influenza antivirals in Sentinel to trends in CDC's ILINet and NREVSS systems over five seasons. There were 2 102 885 dispensed prescriptions of oseltamivir capsules, 494 188 of oseltamivir powder, and 7955 of zanamivir. Across all seasons, the magnitude and timing of peaks in drug utilization were highly comparable to those in ILINet and NREVSS. Oseltamivir capsules and powder were well correlated with ILINet and NREVSS. This lays the foundation for further exploration of Sentinel's utility for influenza surveillance.

Keywords: infectious disease surveillance; influenza; medical claims.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oseltamivir / therapeutic use
  • Outpatients*
  • Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult
  • Zanamivir / therapeutic use


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Oseltamivir
  • Zanamivir