This study states that Influenza viruses cause acute respiratory infections in all parts of the world and can lead to hospitalization and death. An estimated 5%-10% of adults and 20%-30% of children worldwide are affected by seasonal influenza each year.1 A recent model by Iuliano et al. estimated that 4-8.8 per 100000 influenza-associated deaths occur annually around the world, with the highest rates occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, the western Pacific, and South-East Asia.2 Surveillance for influenza that includes accurate laboratory diagnostics plays a critical role for annual vaccine strain selection, identification of novel strains, and quick recognition of increased influenza circulation that could signal a pandemic. One report on the seasonality of influenza which included influenza-like illness (ILI) and/or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) surveillance in eight West African countries described two peaks; however, data included in this report from Burkina Faso did not include SARI cases, and country-specific seasonality was limited.3

Clinical presentation of influenza is similar to that of many other viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens causing acute respiratory illnesses; thus, diagnostics play a key role in identifying which acute respiratory infections are caused by influenza.

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