What does public health surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) involve?

Updated: Jun 16, 2020
  • Author: Medscape Drugs & Diseases; more...
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Viral tests are used in community, outpatient, and hospital-based surveillance systems to identify cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. [3] These data help identify areas of ongoing circulation (hot spots), determine trends in disease by location, provide insight into the impact of the disease over time and by location, and inform disease forecasts.

Antibody tests are increasingly used to monitor disease burden by location and over time. [3] Use of serologic assays in populations can help determine the proportion of a population previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Thus, demographic and geographic patterns of serologic test results provide data that can be used in forecasts of disease spread that can support resource allocation decisions and planning by local, territorial and state officials.


Testing is a fundamental part of the United States SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance Plan, which uses multiple surveillance systems and epidemiology networks, in collaboration with state, local, and academic partners, to monitor the progression and impact of SARS-CoV-2) spread in the country. [3]

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