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We developed surveillance guidance for COVID-19 in 9 temporary camps for displaced persons along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Arrangements were made for testing of persons presenting with acute respiratory infection, influenza-like illness, or who met the Thailand national COVID-19 Person Under Investigation case definition. In addition, testing was performed for persons who had traveled outside of the camps in outbreak-affected areas or who departed Thailand as resettling refugees. During the first 18 months of surveillance, May 2020-October 2021, a total of 6,190 specimens were tested, and 15 outbreaks (i.e., >1 confirmed COVID-19 cases) were detected in 7 camps. Of those, 5 outbreaks were limited to a single case. Outbreaks during the Delta variant surge were particularly challenging to control. Adapting and implementing COVID-19 surveillance measures in the camp setting were successful in detecting COVID-19 outbreaks and preventing widespread disease during the initial phase of the pandemic in Thailand.

Original publication




Journal article


Emerging infectious diseases

Publication Date





S17 - S25


Humans, Respiratory Tract Diseases, Refugees, Pandemics, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2