The epidemiology of seasonal influenza after the 2009 influenza pandemic in Africa: a systematic review
Background: Influenza infection is a serious public health problem that causes an estimated 3 to 5 million cases and 250,000 deaths worldwide every year. The epidemiology of influenza is well-documented in high- and middle-income countries, however minimal effort had been made to understand the epidemiology, burden and seasonality of influenza in Africa. This study aims to assess the state of knowledge of seasonal influenza epidemiology in Africa and identify potential data gaps for policy formulation following the 2009 pandemic.
Method: We reviewed articles from Africa published into four databases namely: MEDLINE (PubMed), Google Scholar, Cochrane Library and Scientific Research Publishing from 2010 to 2019.
Results: We screened titles and abstracts of 2070 studies of which 311 were selected for full content evaluation and 199 studies were considered. Selected articles varied substantially on the basis of the topics they addressed covering the field of influenza surveillance (n=80); influenza risk factors and co-morbidities (n=15); influenza burden (n=37); influenza vaccina- tion (n=40); influenza and other respiratory pathogens (n=22) and influenza diagnosis (n=5).
Conclusion: Significant progress has been made since the last pandemic in understanding the influenza epidemiology in Africa. However, efforts still remain for most countries to have sufficient data to allow countries to prioritize strategies for influenza prevention and control.
Keywords: Influenza; epidemiology; review; Africa; post pandemic.
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