Influenza and other respiratory viruses 2018 02 1612(1) 104-112 doi 10.1111/irv.12489
Understanding the burden of influenza-associated severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) is important for setting national influenza surveillance and vaccine priorities. Estimating influenza-associated SARI rates requires hospital-based surveillance data and a population-based denominator, which can be challenging to determine.
We present an application of the World Health Organization’s recently developed manual (WHO Manual) including hospital admission survey (HAS) methods for estimating the burden of influenza-associated SARI, with lessons learned to help others calculate similar estimates.
Using an existing SARI surveillance platform in Cambodia, we counted influenza-associated SARI cases during 2015 at one sentinel surveillance site in Svay Rieng Province. We applied WHO Manual-derived methods to count respiratory hospitalizations at all hospitals within the catchment area, where 95% of the sentinel site case-patients resided. We used HAS methods to adjust the district-level population denominator for the sentinel site and calculated the incidence rate of influenza-associated SARI by dividing the number of influenza-positive SARI infections by the adjusted population denominator and multiplying by 100 000. We extrapolated the rate to the provincial population to derive a case count for 2015. We evaluated data sources, detailed steps of implementation, and identified lessons learned.
We estimated an adjusted influenza-associated 2015 SARI rate of 13.5/100 000 persons for the catchment area of Svay Rieng Hospital and 77 influenza-associated SARI cases in Svay Rieng Province after extrapolation.
Methods detailed in the WHO Manual and operationalized successfully in Cambodia can be used in other settings to estimate rates of influenza-associated SARI.