Influenza surveillance is performed as part of the World Health Organization Influenza surveillance effort. Each year designated submitters from across the state are provided with transport medium, submission forms, and specific instructions for patient selection and specimen collection, storage, and transport. Influenza viruses that are identified through this program are subtyped to determine the strain(s) of influenza that are circulating in the community. This information, along with a select number of isolates, is provided to the CDC and the WHO to be compiled with surveillance data from laboratories around the world. Please refer to www.texasflu.org for specific specimen submission information.
Except in certain situations (Epidemiological investigations, other public health outbreaks, seasonal changes, etc.), influenza surveillance specimens will not initially receive viral isolation. Specimens submitted for influenza surveillance will initially be screened for Influenza A and Influenza B using the CDC real time RT-PCR assay for detection of influenza. All positive influenza A specimens will be subtyped for seasonal H1, seasonal H3, or 2009 Influenza H1N1. Viral Isolation will be performed during off peak influenza months (i.e., summer months or relevant to the timing of circulating influenza virus).