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Surveillance for influenza and the viral aetiologies of influenza-like febrile illnesses in an urban slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh


Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the developing world. The epidemiology of specific respiratory viruses in the developing world is not well characterised; most existing data are hospital-based. In industrialised settings, respiratory viruses can be isolated in up to 48% of children with ALRI. RSV and parainfluenza viruses are the most frequently isolated pathogens in such children, followed by influenza and adenovirus.

Influenza is a global disease in which newly emergent virus strains from any part of the world can rapidly encircle the globe. In the absence of virologic and disease surveillance, an outbreak can remain undetected until it has already spread to distant regions; international surveillance is therefore essential to the timely identification of new antigenic variants of influenza and novel influenza subtypes with pandemic potential. Optimal annual vaccine formulation and the potential development of a vaccine against pandemic influenza depend upon global surveillance. Thus, a substantial need exists for the improvement of influenza surveillance in this region.

To date, no community-based general etiological study of acute respiratory disease, specifically pneumonia, has been conducted in Bangladesh.

The purpose of this study is to determine the epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses among all age groups in this population, including their seasonality, the proportion of pneumonia attributable to respiratory viruses, and the clinical characteristics of respiratory viral infection. Surveillance for influenza in overcrowded urban populations is essential for designing effective vaccines and for global influenza pandemic preparedness efforts.

This study complements ongoing surveillance for determining the bacterial aetiologies of febrile and respiratory diseases, including typhoid fever and invasive pneumococcal diseases, among children and adults in this population.


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