APHL works with CDC and public health laboratories to ensure that our members are prepared to test for existing and newly emerging respiratory pathogens. APHL also coordinates evaluations of new assays and surveillance approaches for respiratory infections in an effort to make the public health response to these pathogens as robust and efficient as possible.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a zoonotic disease caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Beginning in May 2014 APHL initiated a response to support members as they responded to the first cases of MERS-CoV in the US. While these two instances remain the only confirmed positives cases of MERS in the US, public health laboratories and CDC continue to closely monitor the situation and to date have tested over 1,300 specimens.
Enteroviruses (EV) are respiratory viruses that are associated with acute respiratory illness. Increasingly, non-polio enteroviruses have been tied to outbreaks of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) and both community and institutional outbreaks of meningitis, encephalitis, and neonatal sepsis-like illness, primarily in children. To better characterize circulation patterns, CDC and APHL have initiated a program to support surveillance efforts through testing of specimens at the four established Vaccine Preventable Disease Reference Centers. Data from the project will be submitted to the National Enterovirus Surveillance System. In establishing the EV surveillance project, APHL and CDC hope to better characterize EV circulation patterns to prepare for potential future outbreaks.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Surveillance
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections among young children. RSV is classified into two subtypes, A and B, which circulate widely in the US; however, currently circulating viruses are not well characterized and there is a dearth of RSV genetic sequence information. To improve the understanding of the molecular epidemiology of actively circulating RSV viruses and the potential impact of virus diversity on intervention or treatment efforts, APHL and CDC are piloting a program for ongoing virologic surveillance for RSV in the US. Public health laboratories interested in participating can view the 2023-2024 RSV guidance here.
Other Respiratory Illnesses
Additional information pertaining to Influenza, Legionella and SARS-CoV-2 can be found on their respective websites.