Influenza Sentinel Providers

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) participates in the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet), a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, and volunteer sentinel clinicians as part of our influenza surveillance.

Sentinel physicians: 

  • Report the total number of patient visits to their facilities each week, as well as the number of patient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) within five age categories (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-49 years, 50-64 years, and 65 + years). 
  • Collect respiratory specimens from a sample of patients with ILI for respiratory virus panel testing at no charge by the MDHHS Laboratory.

Medical providers of any specialty (e.g., family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, infectious disease) in nearly any setting (e.g., private practice, public health clinic, urgent care center, emergency room, university student health center) who are likely to see patients with influenza-like illness can be sentinel providers. The only exception is for those providers who primarily care for institutionalized populations (e.g., nursing homes, prisons).

The advantages of being a sentinel physician include:

  • Free laboratory testing (respiratory virus culture) for approximately 11 specimens per site per year
  • Weekly feedback on submitted data
  • Summaries of regional, state, and national influenza data

More information on Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance

A current sentinel provider's ILINet testimony:

"I am excited to be an Influenza Sentinel for the State of Michigan’s ILINet program.

Of all the requests for data and surveillance with which I am inundated as an Infection Preventionist, the call to be an Influenza Sentinel was a diamond in the rough.

You get to volunteer. Your providers know that these reports represent their community and patients. The hospital fulfills its role to be proactive in the community. You are a participant in a collaborative effort working in conjunction with the CDC to protect your local community, your state, and your country.

There is free lab testing available, weekly feedback on all the ILINet data submitted (regional, state and national), free online access to Emerging Infectious Diseases, and active participation makes you eligible for free registration at an MDHHS Regional Immunization Conference.

With all the benefits that this program provides, I am excited to be an Influenza Sentinel."

- Kim Kibby, MSA, CIC, SC, SH, MT, PBT (ASCP)
Infection Preventionist
South Haven Health System
ILINet Sentinel since January 2015