We evaluated the performance of an electronic smart-card based school absenteeism surveillance system which was initiated in 2008 in Hong Kong. The result demonstrated the feasibility and potential benefit of employing electronic school absenteeism data as captured automatically by a smart card system as an alternative data stream for monitoring influenza activities, and flexibility in establishing surveillance for emerging diseases. The increasing popularity of usage of smart card technology in various community settings might also represent potentially timely and cost-effective opportunities for innovative surveillance systems.
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