Expanding severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) surveillance beyond influenza: The process and data from 1 year of implementation in Vietnam

Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2018 Sep;12(5):632-642. doi: 10.1111/irv.12571. Epub 2018 Jun 10.


Background: In 2016, as a component of the Global Health Security Agenda, the Vietnam Ministry of Health expanded its existing influenza sentinel surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) to include testing for 7 additional viral respiratory pathogens. This article describes the steps taken to implement expanded SARI surveillance in Vietnam and reports data from 1 year of expanded surveillance.

Methods: The process of expanding the suite of pathogens for routine testing by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) included laboratory trainings, procurement/distribution of reagents, and strengthening and aligning SARI surveillance epidemiology practices at sentinel sites and regional institutes (RI).

Results: Surveillance data showed that of 4003 specimens tested by the RI laboratories, 20.2% (n = 810) were positive for influenza virus. Of the 3193 influenza-negative specimens, 41.8% (n = 1337) were positive for at least 1 non-influenza respiratory virus, of which 16.2% (n = 518), 13.4% (n = 428), and 9.6% (n = 308) tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, and adenovirus, respectively.

Conclusions: The Government of Vietnam has demonstrated that expanding respiratory viral surveillance by strengthening and building upon an influenza platform is feasible, efficient, and practical.

Keywords: Vietnam; adenovirus; global health security; influenza virus; respiratory syncytial virus; rhinovirus; severe acute respiratory infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epidemiological Monitoring*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthomyxoviridae
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / pathology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Vietnam / epidemiology
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Virus Diseases / pathology
  • Viruses / classification
  • Viruses / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult