Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to understand the burden of disease in a country?
Understanding the burden of disease can help policymakers, clinicians, and public health practitioners set health priorities, budget for disease prevention and mitigation, allocate resources appropriately, and conduct planning for public health emergencies.
How should I use the results from this tool?
You can use the data from this tool to conduct emergency preparedness planning, urge your political representatives to pass legislation to improve influenza preparedness and to introduce or expand influenza vaccination programs, run an exercise or drill focusing on influenza response, or increase awareness of influenza as a public health threat.
What is an expansion factor?
Cases of influenza are often underreported in settings with underdeveloped health surveillance systems. Therefore, infectious disease models often multiply the reported number of cases by an expansion factor to help correct for underreporting and produce more accurate estimates of disease burden.
Where can I find influenza-related hospitalization or death data for my country?
You may be able to search for (or request) these data on the website of your national public health authority (eg, Ministry of Health or US CDC equivalent). In some countries, these data may be gathered and made publicly available through a third party, such as the World Health Organization or a private-sector entity. You may also wish to search the peer-reviewed literature for additional estimates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
What if I don’t have data on hospitalizations or deaths broken down by the age groups in the tool?
We know that not everyone reports data using the age bins used in this tool. If you do not have data that are binned using the same age ranges, you should first try to go back to the data source and see if the original data can be re-binned into the WHO recommended age ranges represented in the tool. If that is not possible, the user could make and enter their own estimates for the numbers of hospitalizations and/or deaths belonging in each age bin.
This tool is not intended to provide an exact answer for the burden of seasonal influenza, but instead provides an estimate and range to help enable decision making. Depending on the preference of the user, an estimate of the numbers of hospitalizations and/or deaths in each age group by the user may be sufficient to enable exploration of the estimated burden of disease.
How did you build this model?
We built this model by scanning peer-reviewed literature for estimates of influenza burden in countries across the world as well as surveillance data about mild/moderate cases, hospitalizations, critically ill cases, and deaths; case and death numbers disaggregated by age group; and other factors that contribute to estimating the magnitude and severity of cases.