Since most people who catch influenza do not need medical attention, the number of unrecorded cases is high, and the health services see only the tip of an iceberg. Now, with the general public serving as participants, the spread of flu can be charted with much greater reliability. When there are signs of an upward trend in a particular area, workplaces and hospitals will have the time to prepare for a rise in absenteeism and patients, many of them elderly.
What makes the website unique is that all communication and data-processing is done automatically via a secure link. Participants will each receive a weekly e-mail asking if they have fallen ill over the past week and a brief, two-minute questionnaire on any symptoms they might be experiencing. Eventually, Influensakoll.se will show the percentage of participants who have flu-like symptoms around Sweden. Visitors to the website will be presented with an interactive map showing the number of flu cases around the country. Its accuracy will naturally depend on how many active participatants there are; the more participants, the better the database, and the quicker hospitals and other public services will be able to respond.
The Influensakoll concept originally comes from Holland, from where it has spread to Belgium, Portugal, Italy and the UK. Next in line are Sweden and four other European countries. The project is being funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme.
Influensakoll’s scientific managers:
Professor Annika Linde, state epidemiologist, SMI
Professor Olof Nyrén, Karolinska Institutet
For more information, please contact:
AnnaSara Carnahan, SMI
Tel: +46 (0)8-457 23 89
Aase Sten, press officer, SMI: +46 (0)70-338 23 32
Karolinska Institutet’s press office: +46 (0)8-524 860 77