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Sentinel General Practitioners

Annually, a considerable part of the Belgian population acquires a flu-like syndrome or an acute upper tract respiratory infection. Certain population groups (young children, elderly people, pregnant women and persons with a chronic condition), run a significant higher risk of severe tot life-threatening complications. Moreover, seasonal flu leads to an increased pressure on the health care system, increased work leave and high financial costs.

In Belgium, a sentinel network specifically dedicated to influenza surveillance, with the participation of about 40 GPs, was initiated in 1985 and has participated in various influenza related European projects. Since autumn 2007, this network is integrated into the network of the Sentinel General Practitioners (SGPs) existing since 1979 and responsible for the surveillance of many other health problems. The network consists of around 150 voluntarily participating GPs homogeneously spread over the country. They are as representative as possible of all GPs in Belgium. The SGPs provide timely and nationwide information on the incidence of GP contacts for cases of Acute Respiratory Infection and influenza-like illness. 

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