As of December 13, 2021, influenza has been included on the list of contagious diseases whose occurrence laboratories must report to the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (Meldingssystemet for smittsomme sykdommer, MSIS).
The Regulation on the Reporting System for Contagious Diseases (MSIS Regulation) (Forskrift om Meldingssystem for smittsomme sykdommer (FOR-2003-06-20-740) (MSIS-forskriften)) includes several categories (A, B, and C) of contagious diseases that warrant different reporting responses. Cases of contagious diseases listed under category A (such as HIV, COVID-19, and now influenza) must be reported together with the patients’ personal identifiable information, such as name, personal identification number, age, civil status, and place of residence. In contrast, diseases listed under category C (as influenza was previously) do not require detailed monitoring and are to be reported in tables summarizing the number of cases. Following the move of influenza from category C to A, there are currently no diseases listed as category C diseases in Norway. However, unlike category A diseases such as COVID-19 and HIV, doctors are not required to directly notify the MSIS of influenza cases. (§ 2-1 MSIS-forskriften.) The MSIS reporting must instead be done directly from the laboratory that confirms the influenza diagnosis. (§ 2-3.) As of May 2020, the reporting of contagious diseases to the MSIS may be done electronically.
Listing and processing the medical information of patients in the MSIS medical database does not require their prior consent. (§ 11 Helseregisterloven (LOV-2014-06-20-43).)
The MSIS reporting system is meant to:
- describe the prevalence of contagious diseases over time and with regard to geographical and population conditions
- resolve and contribute to the resolution of outbreaks of contagious diseases
- provide advice to the public, health personnel and administration on infection control measures
- evaluate the effect of infection control measures
- initiate, promote and provide a basis for research on the spread and causes of contagious diseases
Moreover, the MSIS system forwards health information to the national Core Health Journal (Kjernejournal). Information contained in the registry may be used to guide, plan, and ensure the quality of health care services and the public health administration in Norway.
Including influenza among category A diseases provides government agencies the opportunity to follow the spread and record statistics related to influenza cases without the consent of the patient, including how many persons are vaccinated with the influenza vaccine.As reported in 2020, 52 persons were estimated to have died as a direct result of influenza between October 2019 and March 2020. As of December 27, 2021, a total of 1,258 persons had died of COVID-19 in Norway since the start of the pandemic.