Improving understanding of the impact of influenza: workshop to define disease burden from seasonal influenza

Influenza is an underappreciated contributor to global mortality and morbidity and has significant economic consequences. There is a need for reliable disease burden estimates to make informed evidence-based decisions when allocating resources and planning intervention strategies. For this reason, the WHO Regional Office for Europe offers a series of workshops to assist countries in producing these estimates using their national surveillance and hospital data by employing WHO’s "Manual for estimating disease burden associated with seasonal influenza in a population".

A workshop was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on 25–27 September 2017 to define the disease burden from seasonal influenza in four countries in the WHO European Region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia and Montenegro). During the workshop participants were able to practise techniques outlined in the Manual and use their national influenza surveillance data to begin producing disease burden estimates for their country. The workshop also afforded a great opportunity for in-depth discussions on the benefits and limitations of different influenza surveillance methods.