Current practices for respiratory syncytial virus surveillance across the EU/EEA Member States, 2017

European Influenza Surveillance Network

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major contributor to lower respiratory tract infections worldwide and several vaccine candidates are currently in development. Following vaccine introduction, reliable RSV surveillance should enable monitoring of vaccination impact. Data on the RSV disease burden in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) are sparse. Aim: The aim of this study was to gather knowledge on current practices of national RSV surveillance in the EU/EEA. Methods: National Coordinators and National Focal Points for Influenza (epidemiologists and virologists) from the EU/EEA countries (n = 31) were invited to participate in an online survey in August and September 2017. The questionnaire covered questions on epidemiological and laboratory aspects of RSV surveillance. Results: All EU/EEA countries except Liechtenstein replied to the survey. Eighteen countries reported to have a sentinel surveillance system, 26 countries a non-sentinel surveillance system and three countries to have neither. RSV data collection was mostly done within the context of influenza surveillance. A wide range of diagnostic and characterisation assays was used for the detection of RSV. Discussion: The majority of EU/ EEA countries have some surveillance for RSV in place. The prevailing integration of RSV surveillance into the existing influenza sentinel surveillance system may lead to under-reporting of RSV. The documented variations in existing RSV surveillance systems and their outputs indicate that there is scope for developing guidelines on establishing comparable methods and outcomes for RSV surveillance across the EU/EEA, to ensure the availability of a consistent evidence base for assessing future vaccination programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The institutions of the following co-authors are partners in the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Consortium in Europe (RESCEU). Madelief Mollers, Anne Teirlinck, Adam Meijer (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM), Céline Barnadas, Thea Kølsen Fischer, Ramona Trebbien (Statens Serum Institute, SSI). RESCEU has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement 116019. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved.


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