Introduction of the ILI program

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Background

Surveillance and reporting of influenza is more important now than ever before. Following the arrival of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (2009) in Ho Chi Minh City, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Oxford University Clinical Research Unit have launched a new system to track respiratory infections based on a simple reporting system. This new system will track and monitor case numbers from General Practitioners and private clinics in real time, and may serve as an early warning system for future outbreaks.

Privacy

The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit guarantees the privacy of all participating doctors. All data will remain anonymous, and only aggregated reports will be made publicly available.

Case definition of influenza-like illness (ILI)

A patient is considered as an ILI case when having all the 3 following conditions:

  1. Having acute onset of symptoms, within the past three or four days.
  2. Having one or more of the following general symptoms: (a) fever ≥37.5°C taken through axillary measurement, (b) malaise, (c) headache, (d) myalgia.
  3. Having one or more of the following respiratory symptoms: (a) cough, (b) nasal mucous membrane discharge, (c) sore throat, (d) dyspnea.

How to participate

To participate in the study, please send an email to our address ili@oucru.org.

Instructions for participating doctors

Participating doctors simply send a text message to the central phone number every day that his/her practice is open.

The text message should indicates three things, in the following order:

  1. The total number of patients seen.
  2. The number of patients that met the case definition of influenza-like illness (ILI).
  3. The number of hours the practice was open.
  4. The date – in day/month/year order – of the report (if the it is not sent in the same day).

Examples:

  • Sending a report for today:

40 10 4.5
This means 40 patients, 10 ILI cases, and the practice was open in 4 hours and 30 minutes.

  • Sending reports for previous days:

40 10 4.5 01/3
This means 40 patients, 10 ILI cases, the practice was open in 4 hours and 30 minutes, and the date of the report is 1st of March.

30 5 3 27/2 35 7 4.5 28/2 37 7 3.5 01/3
These are the reports for 3 days: February 27th, 28th, and March 1st.

Important

Your mobile phone number is key. Daily text messages must always be sent from the same number. This is how the system recognizes which doctor is reporting.

Other means of reporting

  • Instead of sending text messages every day, participating doctors can send reports in Excel spreadsheets to the email address ili@oucru.org.
  • Moreover, ILI log books will be offered on request. Our research coordinator will visit the clinics every one or two months to collect the log books.