Influenza and influenza-like illnesses (ILI) are a persistent public health issue that practitioners have to deal with, annually in epidemic situations caused by seasonal influenza and other respiratory pathogens, and under emergency situations in pandemics and sporadic outbreaks (e.g. pandemic H1N1 and avian H7N9). There are many unanswered questions and unsolved problems with respect to the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and equity of public health and primary care programs and services for preventing and controlling ILI in Canada. These issues are diverse but many are inter-connected.
On March 28, 2013, NCCID and its sister centres (NCC for Aboriginal Health, NCC for Determinants of Health, NCC for Environmental Health, NCC for Healthy Public Policy and NCC for Methods and Tools), brought together thirty-five individuals representing federal, provincial/territorial and regional public health jurisdictions as well as various professional organizations, for a one-day consultation in the
attempt to prioritize these issues, and to assess the knowledge gaps and other knowledge translation needs related to the prevention and control of ILI. The goal of this consultation was to gather input on the type of knowledge products that would be useful to public health practitioners.
Working from a list of issues related to the prevention and control of ILI from a workshop hosted by the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, consultation participants deliberated and narrowed the list down to five top priority issue groups:
1. Vaccine efficacy, effectiveness, efficiency and equity (sub-point for consideration: knowledge basis for making vaccination mandatory for health care workers)
2. Primary prevention of influenza and ILI other than vaccine (sub-point: barriers to disease transmission)