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About us

Sentinel Surveillance

 • Sentinel 

A volunteer doctor or nurse that participates in a surveillance network. Tarrant Viral Watch sentinels actively monitor ILI and LRTI in their patients to provide early information about what respiratory viruses are circulating in an area.  

• Syndromic Surveillance 
The systematic and ongoing collection, analysis and interpretation of data related to a specific disease. Tarrant Viral Watch conducts active surveillance for influenza-like illness and child gastroenteritis.

Study #1. ILI and LRTI surveillance

TARRANT conducts ILI and LRTI surveillance in Alberta through a sentinel network. Sentinels screen patients for ILI/LRTI symptoms and report the number of patients seen every week. This data is used as an indicator of influenza activity and is disseminated to provincial public health bodies, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization.


Study #2: Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Study

Since 2005, TARRANT has partnered with the BC Center for Disease Control, the National Microbiology Lab, and provincial programs from Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec to determine influenza vaccine effectiveness. Through a test negative incident case control design, patients presenting with ILI are recruited at community sentinel sites across the provinces and tested for influenza. This data is combined with their vaccination history to determine vaccine effectiveness.


Influenza-like illness (ILI)
Respiratory illness with Acute Onset, with fever, and cough, and with one or more of- sore throat, arthralgia, myalgia or prostration- which may be due to influenza virus. (Presentation may vary in pediatric and elderly populations.)
ICD-9 code 487

Lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI)
Any acute infection with significant involvement of the respiratory tract below the larynx, as identified by history, physical signs and/or radiological findings.
ICD-9 codes 466, 486

If a patient has ILI with lower tract involvement, code as LRTI. i.e. LRTI takes precedence over ILI.


Study #3: Community Pediatric Gastroenteritis Surveillance (CPGS) study

To measure the incidence and distribution of child gastroenteritis, TARRANT has launched a new study and expanded our sentinel surveillance network. TARRANT is continuing the partnership with the provincial laboratory to determine the epidemiology of child gastroenteritis in Alberta. This community-based sentinel network will also be used to test the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccinations. 

• Child Gastroenteritis 
Three or more episodes of new onset diarrhea (loose and/or watery stools) or of forceful vomiting associated with gastroenteritis in children under six years within a 24-hour period during the 7 days before the medical visit.
ICD-A08.x or A09