Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 151  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 236-240

Severe acute respiratory illness surveillance for coronavirus disease 2019, India, 2020

1 Division of Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India
2 ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
3 National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, India
4 Department of Health Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Manoj Murhekar
Director, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai 600 077, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1035_20

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Background & objectives: Sentinel surveillance among severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) patients can help identify the spread and extent of transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARI surveillance was initiated in the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in India. We describe here the positivity for COVID-19 among SARI patients and their characteristics. Methods: SARI patients admitted at 41 sentinel sites from February 15, 2020 onwards were tested for COVID-19 by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, targeting E and RdRp genes of SARS-CoV-2. Data were extracted from Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory Network for analysis. Results: A total of 104 (1.8%) of the 5,911 SARI patients tested were positive for COVID-19. These cases were reported from 52 districts in 20 States/Union Territories. The COVID-19 positivity was higher among males and patients aged above 50 years. In all, 40 (39.2%) COVID-19 cases did not report any history of contact with a known case or international travel. Interpretation & conclusions: COVID-19 containment activities need to be targeted in districts reporting COVID-19 cases among SARI patients. Intensifying sentinel surveillance for COVID-19 among SARI patients may be an efficient tool to effectively use resources towards containment and mitigation efforts.

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