Laboratory-based virology weekly report - 2021 Week 38
The laboratory-based surveillance for influenza and common respiratory viruses is carried out all-year-around by the NZ virus laboratory network consisting of the WHO National Influenza Centre (NIC) at ESR and six hospital laboratories in Auckland (2), Waikato, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. This laboratory network tests specimens ordered by clinicians for hospital inpatients and outpatients during normal clinical practice (serving ~70% of the NZ population). In addition, this laboratory network also conducts testing for public health surveillance, including SARI, ILI and WellKiwis (i.e. SHIVERS) cohort surveillance. Caution is needed in the interpretation : 1) Sample collection is ordered by clinicians based on clinical judgement for patient management, rather than a systematic sampling approach for surveillance; 2) The number of laboratory tests can be influenced by testing priorities and demands, reagent and resource availability; 3) Testing technology and instruments evolve over the years which may have contributed to improved sensitivity for detection in recent years.