Evaluation of the trends in the incidence of infectious diseases using the syndromic surveillance system, early warning and response unit, Mongolia, from 2009 to 2017: a retrospective descriptive multi-year analytical study

BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Aug 9;19(1):705. doi: 10.1186/s12879-019-4362-z.


Background: In recent times, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are posing a public health threat in developing countries, and vigilant surveillance is necessary to prepare against these threats. Analyses of multi-year comprehensive infectious disease syndrome data are required in Mongolia, but have not been conducted till date. This study aimed to describe the trends in the incidence of infectious disease syndromes in Mongolia during 2009-2017 using a nationwide syndrome surveillance system for infectious diseases established in 2009.

Methods: We analyzed time trends using monthly data on the incidence of infectious disease syndromes such as acute fever with rash (AFR), acute fever with vesicular rash (AFVR), acute jaundice (AJ), acute watery diarrhea (AWD), acute bloody diarrhea (ABD), foodborne disease (FD) and nosocomial infection (NI) reported from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2017. Time series forecasting models based on the data up to 2017 estimated the future trends in the incidence of syndromes up to December 2020.

Results: During the study, the overall prevalence of infectious disease syndromes was 71.8/10,000 population nationwide. The average number of reported infectious disease syndromes was 14,519 (5229-55,132) per year. The major types were AFR (38.7%), AFVR (31.7%), AJ (13.9%), ABD (10.2%), and AWD (1.8%), accounting for 96.4% of all reported syndromes. The most prevalent syndromes were AJ between 2009 and 2012 (59.5-48.7%), AFVR between 2013 and 2014 (54.5-59%), AFR between 2015 and 2016 (67.6-65.9%), and AFVR in 2017 (62.2%). There were increases in the prevalence of AFR, with the monthly number of cases being 37.7 ± 6.1 during 2015-2016; this could be related to the measles outbreak in Mongolia during that period. The AFVR incidence rate showed winter's multiplicative seasonal fluctuations with a peak of 10.6 ± 2 cases per 10,000 population in 2017. AJ outbreaks were identified in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and these could be associated with hepatitis A outbreaks. Prospective time series forecasting showed increasing trends in the rates of AFVR and ABD.

Conclusions: The evidence-based method for infectious disease syndromes was useful in gaining an understanding of the current situation, and predicting the future trends of various infectious diseases in Mongolia.

Keywords: Infectious diseases syndrome; Mongolia; Syndromic surveillance system.

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Foodborne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interrupted Time Series Analysis
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Mongolia / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome