Capacity of National Influenza Surveillance System in Afghanistan: a chronic conflict setting

M. H. Rasooly, M. N. Sahak, K. I. Saeed, S. K. Krishnan, Wasiq Mehmood Khan, S. Hassounah

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Influenza surveillance is needed to monitor potential public health threats from the emergence of novel influenza viruses. This study assessed the capacity and performance of the national influenza surveillance system in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2014. Data were collected by review of hospital registers and the National Influenza Centre (NIC) database, interviews with influenza focal points at 9 influenza sentinel surveillance sites and the Centre staff, and observation of the sites. Out of 6900 specimens collected, influenza virus was detected
in 253 (3.6%), predominantly H1N1 (63%); most of these cases were detected during the 2009 pandemic. The NIC had the capacity for virus isolation and PCR identification and performed reasonably until 2011 when support of
the Naval American Medical Research Unit 3 was withdrawn. The limitations identified in the system indicated the need for: more complete data, improved technical competence and trained human resources, updating of the infrastructure/facilities, and the presence of standard operating procedures throughout surveillance.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationEastern Mediterranean Health Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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