Border Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS)

Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) Surveillance

What is SARI Surveillance?

In 2010, BIDS began efforts to join a border-wide influenza network performing surveillance for Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI). SARI is defined as:

  • A fever of at least 100ºF or self-reported fever
  • and either a cough or a sore throat
  • and hospital admission

Patients identified with SARI have been tested to determine the viral, bacterial, and fungal etiologies of the severe respiratory infections.

As of 2012, three SARI surveillance sites have been established in acute care hospital sites in the Arizona border region.


Overall, this surveillance gives public health a clearer picture of the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of SARI cases and the hospitalizations and deaths attributable to SARI. Some of the objectives of this surveillance are to:

  • Determine when and where influenza is circulating
  • Determine predominant types and subtypes
  • Assess the impact and intensity of influenza activity
  • Detect the emergence of novel influenza viruses or unusual events in the AZ border region

Project Benefits

  • Measure the impact and incidence of SARI and detect etiologies of public health significance, such as influenza, Pertussis, RSV, Legionella pneumophila, Coccidioides, and other emerging or novel infections
  • Guide vaccination allocation planning and efficacy evaluation for illness that may be vaccine preventable
  • Offer free testing to physicians and patients to identify etiology of infections.

Results for the 2011-2012 Influenza Season

Total cases identified in the 2011-2012 season- 42

Laboratory Result Highlights
  • Cases testing positive for influenza- 5 (12%)
  • Cases testing positive for RSV- 9 (21%)
  • Cases testing negative for viral, bacterial, and fungal etiologies- 17 (40%)
Demographic Characteristics

Gender- 38% were male
Age- 39% were 65 years and older
Race- 43% were Hispanic; 29% non-Hispanic white; 29% Native American

For additional information on SARI surveillance in the current season (2012-2013), please see the border influenza weekly activity reports found in the Border Influenza Surveillance section. For results on SARI surveillance from previous influenza seasons, please see the Arizona Border Influenza Summary Reports: 2010-2011 influenza season and 2011-2012 influenza season.

Note: Files are PDF format unless otherwise stated.