main objectives of ERLI-Net are to carry out virological surveillance of human
influenza and to ensure that data are shared through the European Influenza
Surveillance Network (EISN) reporting mechanisms in a timely manner.
comprises nominated expert representatives from laboratories in all EU Member
States and two EEA countries (Norway and Iceland) (Figure 1).
has its roots in the Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human
Influenza in Europe (CNRL) which was established in 2003 to formalize the
network of national influenza reference laboratories participating in the
European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS). From 1 September 2008, the
coordination of influenza surveillance activities was transferred to the
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The network was
renamed the European Influenza Surveillance Network (EISN). In June 2013, CNRL
was renamed The European Reference Laboratory Network for Human Influenza
coordinates all activities related to ERLI-Net. This includes those activities
delivered by external contractors such as the central characterization of
influenza viruses, external quality
assessment (EQA), wet lab and online training for network members,
and monitoring of influenza-related mortality in Europe.
Figure 1. Map of influenza laboratories participating in ERLI-Net. Click on picture to see full-size image (opens in new window)
Mechanisms of working
The ERLI-Net coordination group aims to capitalise on the expertise within network laboratories by continuing to use dedicated virology task groups
to complete specific activities. This model of working has facilitated discussion and enhanced working relationships within the network by sharing best practices and harmonising technical approaches. ERLI-Net virology task groups participate in regular teleconferences and meetings. A wider meeting of all EISN virologists takes place once a year.
Collaboration with WHO
Most ERLI-Net laboratories are also WHO-recognised National Influenza Centres (NIC). They are supported by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, London, UK (WHO CC). The NICs participate in the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). The EU/EEA Member State laboratories that are members of ERLI-Net report their surveillance data to The European Surveillance System (TESSy) database hosted by ECDC. Data from TESSy are transferred to the EuroFlu database
hosted by WHO Europe
from where they are shared with the global WHO FluNet
. All European NICs have agreed to the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework
and to its influenza virus traceability mechanism (IVTM), as have their national governments through the World Health Assembly in May 2011 (Motion 64.5).