Conference abstract

Influenza activity in Tunisia: 2014-2015 season

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2017:4(80).30 Dec 2017.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2017.4.80.463

Contact the corresponding author
Keywords: Influenza, morbidity, National Influenza Centre (NIC)

Influenza activity in Tunisia: 2014-2015 season

Wafa Aissi1,&, Jihène Bettaieb1, Ghassen Kharroubi1, Marien Nouira1, Abir El Moussi2, Mokhtar Zorraga3, Amine Slim2, Afif Ben Salah1

1Department of Medical Epidemiology, Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02), Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Tunisia, 2Virology Unit, Microbiology Laboratory, National Influenza Centre, Charles Nicolle’s Hospital, Tunis, Tunisia, 3Primary Health Care Directorate, Ministry of Public Health of Tunisia, Tunisia

&Corresponding author
Wafa Aissi, Department of Medical Epidemiology, Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02), Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Tunisia


Introduction: influenza is an important public health problem; it is a major cause of morbidity and leads to considerable socio-economic consequences. The aim of this study was to assess influenza activity for the 2014-2015 season in Tunisia.

Methods: influenza surveillance data was used for data analysis. It was obtained from National Program for Surveillance and Control of influenza which involves the National Influenza Centre (NIC) as well as a network of 268 sentinel sites for reporting influenza-like illness (ILI). The NIC receives biological specimen from the ILI sentinel sites as well as from university hospitals. The case definition of ILI was that recommended by WHO “acute respiratory illness, and measured fever ≥ 38°C, and cough, and onset in previous 10 days”.

Results: influenza activity was relatively moderate at the national level during the 2014-15 season. It differed significantly according to age (p < 0.0001). It differed significantly between governorates also with a proportional contribution of influenza-associated ILI to all outpatients ranging from 0.98% in Bizerte (Northern Tunisia) to 6.05% in Sidi Bouzid (Central Tunisia). In total, 1038 samples were tested, of which 28% were positive for influenza viruses: A (H3N2), A (H1N1) pdm 2009 and B.

Conclusion: the 2014-2015 influenza season was marked by a moderate disease burden of influenza-associated ILI and a co-circulation of three influenza viruses. Reliable surveillance data is needed to provide decision-makers with the evidence necessary for public health policies on influenza prevention and control. Determining influenza viruses in circulation ensures the adequacy the vaccine and eventually detection of new influenza viruses with pandemic potential.