1887
Surveillance Open Access
Like 0

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 re-opening 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.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.29.2001600
2021-07-22
2021-09-25
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.29.2001600
Loading
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/eurosurveillance/26/29/eurosurv-26-29_5.html?itemId=/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.29.2001600&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

References

  1. National Institute for Community Diseases (NICD). NICD daily report and commentary. Johannesburg: NICD; 2020. Available from: https://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/covid-19/surveillance-reports
  2. Olsen SJ, Azziz-Baumgartner E, Budd AP, Brammer L, Sullivan S, Pineda RF, et al. Decreased Influenza Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic - United States, Australia, Chile, and South Africa, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(37):1305-9.  https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6937a6  PMID: 32941415 
  3. Sakamoto H, Ishikane M, Ueda P. Seasonal influenza activity during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Japan. JAMA. 2020;323(19):1969-71.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.6173  PMID: 32275293 
  4. Cowling BJ, Ali ST, Ng TWY, Tsang TK, Li JCM, Fong MW, et al. Impact assessment of non-pharmaceutical interventions against coronavirus disease 2019 and influenza in Hong Kong: an observational study. Lancet Public Health. 2020;5(5):e279-88.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30090-6  PMID: 32311320 
  5. Wong NS, Leung CC, Lee SS. Abrupt Subsidence of Seasonal Influenza after COVID-19 Outbreak, Hong Kong, China. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(11):2752-5.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2611.200861  PMID: 32852264 
  6. Yeoh DK, Foley DA, Minney-Smith CA, Martin AC, Mace AO, Sikazwe CT, et al. The impact of COVID-19 public health measures on detections of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in children during the 2020 Australian winter. Clin Infect Dis. 2021;72(12):2199-202.  https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1475  PMID: 32986804 
  7. Tempia S, Walaza S, Moyes J, McMorrow ML, Cohen AL, Edoka I, et al. Influenza disease burden among potential target risk groups for immunization in South Africa, 2013-2015. Vaccine. 2020;38(27):4288-97.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.04.045  PMID: 32389494 
  8. McMorrow ML, Tempia S, Walaza S, Treurnicht FK, Moyes J, Cohen AL, et al. The role of Human Immunodeficiency Virus in influenza- and respiratory syncytial virus-associated hospitalizations in South African children, 2011-2016. Clin Infect Dis. 2019;68(5):773-80.  https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciy532  PMID: 29961814 
  9. Moyes J, Walaza S, Pretorius M, Groome M, von Gottberg A, Wolter N, et al. Respiratory syncytial virus in adults with severe acute respiratory illness in a high HIV prevalence setting. J Infect. 2017;75(4):346-55.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2017.06.007  PMID: 28676408 
  10. Pretorius MA, Tempia S, Walaza S, Cohen AL, Moyes J, Variava E, et al. The role of influenza, RSV and other common respiratory viruses in severe acute respiratory infections and influenza-like illness in a population with a high HIV sero-prevalence, South Africa 2012-2015. J Clin Virol. 2016;75:21-6.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2015.12.004  PMID: 26741826 
  11. Corman VM, Landt O, Kaiser M, Molenkamp R, Meijer A, Chu DK, et al. Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR. Euro Surveill. 2020;25(3):2000045.  https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.3.2000045  PMID: 31992387 
  12. Lancet Laboratories. Respiratory Virus Statistics. Johannesburg: Lancet Laboratories; 2020. Available from: http://www.lancet.co.za/respiratory-virus-stats-for-june-2020/
  13. Department of Health. Australian Government. Australian Influenza Surveillance Report No.6, June 2020. Canberra: Department of Health; 2020. Available from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/EE2273C903B9D74CCA25859A000ACFF2/$File/flu-06-2020.pdf
  14. Institute of Environmental Science and Research, New Zealand Government. Current influenza surveillance intelligence. Porirua: Institute of Environmental Science and Research. [Accessed: 13 Jul 2020]. Available from: https://www.esr.cri.nz/our-services/consultancy/flu-surveillance-and-research
  15. Epidemiology Department, Chile Ministry of Health. Situatión de Influenza y Virus Respiratorios, Informe 2020 (SE 1-23). [Situation of Influenza and Respiratory Viruses, Report 2020 (SE 1-23)]. Santiago: Chile Ministry of Health; 2020. Spanish. Available from: https://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Informe-SE-1-23-2020-Minsal-Influenza-web.pdf
  16. National Directorate of Epidemiology and Strategic Information, Ministry of Health, Argentina Government. Boletín intergrado de vigilancia, SE 24-2020. [Integrated surveillance bulletin, SE 24-2020]. Santiago: Depto. de Epidemiologia DIPLAS/MINSAL; 2020. Spanish. Available from: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/sites/default/files/biv_500_se_24.pdf
  17. Deyle ER, Maher MC, Hernandez RD, Basu S, Sugihara G. Global environmental drivers of influenza. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2016;113(46):13081-6.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1607747113  PMID: 27799563 
  18. Biggerstaff M, Cauchemez S, Reed C, Gambhir M, Finelli L. Estimates of the reproduction number for seasonal, pandemic, and zoonotic influenza: a systematic review of the literature. BMC Infect Dis. 2014;14(1):480.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-14-480  PMID: 25186370 
  19. Weber A, Weber M, Milligan P. Modeling epidemics caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Math Biosci. 2001;172(2):95-113.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0025-5564(01)00066-9  PMID: 11520501 
  20. Cohen C, Walaza S, Treurnicht FK, McMorrow M, Madhi SA, McAnerney JM, et al. In- and out-of-hospital mortality associated with seasonal and pandemic influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in South Africa, 2009-2013. Clin Infect Dis. 2018;66(1):95-103.  https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix740  PMID: 29040527 
  21. South Africa Medical Research Council, Burden of Disease Research Unit. Report on weekly deaths in South Africa. 1 January – 13 October 2020 (week 41). Cape Town: Burden of Disease Research Unit, South Africa Medical Research Council 2020. Available from: https://www.samrc.ac.za/sites/default/files/files/2020-10-21/weekly13October2020.pdf
  22. World Health Organization (WHO). Recommended composition of influenza virus vaccines for use in the 2021 southern hemisphere influenza season. Geneva: WHO; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/virus/recommendations/202009_recommendation.pdf?ua=1
/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.29.2001600
Loading

Data & Media loading...

Supplementary data

Submit comment
Close
Comment moderation successfully completed
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error