|Letters to Editor|
|Role of School-Based Absenteeism Data in Surveillance and Prediction of Flu Season|
|1Hamdard University, College of Medicine, Karachi, Pakistan|
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Keywords : Epidemiology,Influenza, Surveillance, Schools
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One of the important parts of public health disease surveillance is to track flu (influenza) and similar respiratory conditions. School-based surveillance of flu or influenza-like illness (ILI) is critical as children are more susceptible to infections due to their developing immune system and the nature of interaction they have in the school. Establishing enhanced flu surveillance systems could be useful in monitoring the spread and severity of flu, observing disease trends and finally implementation of the health promotion strategies. An effective surveillance method starts with the establishment of multiple stakeholder contacts and effective collaborations. This is followed by the development of data flow mechanisms to obtain absenteeism information from each participating school. The collected data can be comprised of information such as "the total number of enrolled students and staff, the number of absent students and staff, and the number of absenteeism due to ILI". Additionally, school response rates can also be monitored periodically in order to assess the effectiveness of a program.