What does my office need to do?

Each week:

  • Take nasopharyngeal specimens from all consenting patients presenting with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and send the samples to Alberta ProvLab.

  • Record the number of patients seen each day you worked in your clinic. As well, also record the number of patients who present with ILI and LRTI, their age and gender. Then report these numbers online using the weekly reporting link that is sent to your email.

Why do we need to fill out the total patients seen each week?

We look at the rise and fall of ILI rates by comparing the number of ILI cases to the total number of patients seen. This informs us when the ILI rate is higher than usual. We also compare ILI rates from this season with historical rates from the past decade. ILI rates are a good measure of respiratory virus circulation and can indicate the beginning, peak and end of the influenza season.

Do I need to complete the Weekly Incident Report form if I didn’t see any ILI or LRTI patients that week?

Yes! We want to know when nothing is happening. The total number of patients seen by TARRANT sentinels each week is necessary to calculate ILI and LRTI rates. If you are away from your practice, please still indicate on your weekly reporting survey that you saw no patients that week.

Can a designated office staff member fill out my weekly incident report?

Yes! Many physicians assign a staff member (typically their nurse or MOA) the task of completing the weekly incident report. The designated contact person instead of the physician will then receive the weekly reporting link to their email.

Can my clinic join as a whole or do all participating sentinels need to enroll separately?

Your clinic can join as a practice and physicians do not have to enroll separately. In this case, all participating sentinels at the clinic would have to combine the number of patients and ILI/LRTI cases into one total number which would then be reported online. If you wish to be enrolled as a clinic, you will receive one combined payment. If sentinels enroll individually they are paid separately.

Where do I send the specimens?

If you are located south of Red Deer courier to: Alberta Provincial Lab 3030 Hospital Drive NW Calgary, AB T2N 4W4 403.944.1200 phone 403.283.0142 fax

If you are located north of Red Deer courier to: Alberta Provincial Lab 8440-112 Street Edmonton, AB T6G 2J2 780.407.7121 phone 780.407.8984 fax

Who pays the shipping costs?

You should not have to pay for shipping. TARRANT samples are clinical specimens with diagnostic relevance. They are shipped the same way you ship any other lab specimen. The arrangement of where to ship samples is a contracted service with each former health region, courier company, and laboratory. If you are unsure of how to ship samples to the laboratory, please contact TARRANT.

Do the viral transport mediums need to be refrigerated before use?

No, the tubes can be kept at room temperature before they are used. After sampling, it is recommended to keep the samples close to 0°C, either on ice or refrigerated.

How critical is it to get the sample to the lab quickly?

Not critical: the sooner the better, preferably within 24 hours. Virus recovery drops slowly over time; influenza viruses are fairly stable. If there is a delay in getting the specimen to the lab, virus stability is greater if the sample is kept close to 0°C, either on ice or refrigerated.

How should I dispose of expired tubes?

The viral medium is simply a saline solution with a low concentration of several antibiotics added to inhibit bacterial growth. Therefore, it is noninfectious and can safely be disposed of in the same way as other antibiotic-containing solutions.

Contact Tarrant

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5:30 pm – 9:00 pm Amber B, Matrix Hotel, 10640 – 100th Ave Edmonton AB T5J 3N8


• Jim Dickinson – Introduction & Influenza in Alberta, 2018-2019

• Nathan Zelyas – Closer-to-patient respiratory virus testing in Alberta: a pilot study

• Siobhan Leir – Vaccine Effectiveness during the 2018-19 Influenza Season in Canada

• Danuta Skowronski – The Canadian SPSN: Celebrating 15 Years of Innovation and Achievement in Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Monitoring




6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 13th, 2018, Tactic 4, Aloft Calgary University Hotel, Calgary A.B


• Mariam Osman – Epidemiology of Influenza in Alberta: 2017-2018

• Marie (Betsy) Varughese – Predicting the Peak of Influenza in Alberta

• Steven Drews – Updates in Respiratory Virus Testing in ProvLab Alberta

• Kaitlyn Shaw/Tarrant team – How can we improve organization of Sentinel practitioners? The BC view, the Alberta story

• Danuta Skowronski: – Vaccine effectiveness 2017-18. Can we get any better?