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1.
S Afr Med J ; 112(5b): 361-365, 2022 May 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1897101

ABSTRACT

By May 2021, South Africa (SA) had experienced two 'waves' of COVID-19 infections, with an initial peak of infections reached in July 2020, followed by a larger peak of infections in January 2021. Public health decisions rely on accurate and timely disease surveillance and epidemiological analyses, and accessibility of data at all levels of government is critical to inform stakeholders to respond effectively. In this paper, we describe the adaptation, development and operation of epidemiological surveillance and modelling systems in SA in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, including data systems for monitoring laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, mortality and recoveries at a national and provincial level, and how these systems were used to inform modelling projections and public health decisions. Detailed descriptions on the characteristics and completeness of individual datasets are not provided in this paper. Rapid development of robust data systems was necessary to support the response to the SA COVID-19 epidemic. These systems produced data streams that were used in decision-making at all levels of government. While much progress was made in producing epidemiological data, challenges remain to be overcome to address gaps to better prepare for future waves of COVID-19 and other health emergencies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Government , Humans , Public Health , South Africa/epidemiology
3.
Eurosurveillance ; 26(29):10, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1341599

ABSTRACT

Background In South Africa, COVID-19 control measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 spread were initiated on 16 March 2020. Such measures may also impact the spread of other pathogens, including influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with implications for future annual epidemics and expectations for the subsequent northern hemisphere winter. Methods We assessed the detection of influenza and RSV through facility-based syndromic surveillance of adults and children with mild or severe respiratory illness in South Africa from January to October 2020, and compared this with surveillance data from 2013 to 2019. Results Facility-based surveillance revealed a decline in influenza virus detection during the regular season compared with previous years. This was observed throughout the implementation of COVID-19 control measures. RSV detection decreased soon after the most stringent COVID-19 control measures commenced;however, an increase in RSV detection was observed after the typical season, following the reopening of schools and the easing of measures. Conclusion COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions led to reduced circulation of influenza and RSV in South Africa. This has limited the country's ability to provide influenza virus strains for the selection of the annual influenza vaccine. Delayed increases in RSV case numbers may reflect the easing of COVID-19 control measures. An increase in influenza virus detection was not observed, suggesting that the measures may have impacted the two pathogens differently. The impact that lowered and/or delayed influenza and RSV circulation in 2020 will have on the intensity and severity of subsequent annual epidemics is unknown and warrants close monitoring.

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