Europe and Central Asia are bracing themselves for a potential surge in respiratory virus infections as the colder months approach. With COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) all posing significant public health challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Europe has launched a seasonal campaign to tackle this issue head-on. The WHO has introduced the European Respiratory Virus Surveillance Summary (ERVISS) platform as part of this campaign, aiming to enhance surveillance and data reporting for respiratory viruses across the region.
The presence of multiple respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, influenza, and RSV, creates a complex risk for public health. To keep pace with the evolving situation, the WHO is adapting its surveillance and data reporting approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of transmission intensity, disease severity, and viral evolution. This involves utilizing various surveillance systems such as sentinel surveillance, wastewater monitoring, and data on intensive care unit occupancy and all-cause mortality. These systems play a vital role in supporting national planning and estimating disease burden.
Recognizing the need for an updated approach, the WHO has revamped its respiratory virus surveillance and data reporting systems. The launch of the ERVISS platform is a significant milestone in this effort. ERVISS is an online platform that showcases integrated surveillance data for influenza, COVID-19, and RSV in the WHO European Region. It is part of the broader WHO/Europe COVID-19 Information and Data Hub, which serves as a comprehensive resource for the latest health information, datasets, and products related to COVID-19.
The primary goal of the ERVISS platform is to monitor the intensity, geographical spread, and temporal patterns of respiratory virus infections. It also aims to assess the severity and risk factors for severe disease, observe changes and characteristics of circulating and emerging respiratory viruses, and replace existing regional products related to influenza and COVID-19 surveillance. In addition to ERVISS, the Information and Data Hub will host other crucial resources and platforms, including the Public Health and Social Measures Monitoring platform and the COVID-19 Vaccine Programme Monitor.
These surveillance systems and platforms play a critical role in monitoring respiratory viruses and guiding timely and appropriate control and prevention measures. By adopting an integrated approach to surveillance, they ensure comprehensive tracking of respiratory viruses and make data readily available for informed decision-making. The launch of ERVISS and the development of the Information and Data Hub mark an important stride in the ongoing battle against respiratory viruses in Europe. These initiatives aim to safeguard the health of populations across the region, providing a robust defense against the combined impact of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV.