Epidemiologic surveillance for controlling Covid-19 pandemic: types, challenges and implications

J Infect Public Health. 2020 Aug 21;S1876-0341(20)30603-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2020.07.019. Online ahead of print.


The objectives of the study was to determine the types, challenges and implications of surveillance methods for controlling Covid-19 pandemic. An integrative article review was done. The source of data were documents from WHO, Euro-surveillance, CDC, Saudi CDC, MOH, and journals from PubMed, Medline, etc. The inclusion searching criteria were surveillance, Covid-19, types, benefits and challenges, during the period 2005-2020. Published studies, reviews and guidelines that determined these criteria were collected. Data extraction and analysis were completed for all included articles. A critical appraisal was done based on the University of Michigan Practice Guideline's levels of evidence. The final sample for the integrative review comprised 30 studies. Results revealed that types of Covid-9 surveillance includes routine surveillance (comprehensive, case-based, and aggregated weakly methods), active, wildlife, syndromic, sentinel and sentinel-syndromic methods. Laboratory and hospital-based surveillance are another important types. Help-lines, surveys, participatory electronic, digital and event-based surveillance are relatively new cost-effective methods. Many surveillance indicators can be calculated. Timely and accurate of surveillance data is an essential element for effective Covid-19 interventions. Regarding challenges, the quality of surveillance in developing countries is constrained by resources and training. The main limitations of surveillance are under-ascertainment/under-reporting, lack of timeliness and completeness of surveillance data. In conclusion, surveillance is a cornerstones for controlling Covid-19 pandemic. Enhancing Covid-19 surveillance is vital for rapid cases detection, containing spread & ending pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; Challenges; Implications; Indicators; Pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; Surveillance; Types.

Publication types

  • Review