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Aug 7, 2013

The Remarkable adaptability of syndromic surveillance to meet public health needs

Article accessed on August 8, 013

 
 
Journal:
 
 
Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2013, Pages 41–47

Authors

Abstract

The goal of syndromic surveillance is the earlier detection of epidemics, allowing a timelier public health response than is possible using traditional surveillance methods. Syndromic surveillance application for public health purposes has changed over time and reflects a dynamic evolution from the collection, interpretation of data with dissemination of data to those who need to act, to a more holistic approach that incorporates response as a core component of the surveillance system. Recent infectious disease threats, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), avian influenza (H5N1) and pandemic influenza (H1N1), have all highlighted the need for countries to be rapidly aware of the spread of infectious diseases within a region and across the globe. The International Health Regulations (IHR) obligation to report public health emergencies of international concern has raised the importance of early outbreak detection and response. The emphasis in syndromic surveillance is changing from automated, early alert and detection, to situational awareness and response. Published literature on syndromic surveillance reflects the changing nature of public health threats and responses. Syndromic surveillance has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to rapidly shifting public health needs. This adaptability makes it a highly relevant public health tool.

Keywords
  • Syndromic surveillance;
  • Outbreaks;
  • International Health Regulations;
  • Infectious diseases;
  • Public health
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