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Framework for Evaluating Public Health Surveillance Systems for Early Detection of Outbreaks
  • Status:
  • Source:
    MMWR. Recommendations and reports : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports / Centers for Disease Control. 2004; 53(RR-5):1-11.
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  • Corporate Authors:
    Division of Public Health Surveillance and Informatics, Epidemiology Program Office, CDC, USA.
  • Description:
    The threat of terrorism and high-profile disease outbreaks has drawn attention to public health surveillance systems for early detection of outbreaks. State and local health departments are enhancing existing surveillance systems and developing new systems to better detect outbreaks through public health surveillance. However, information is limited about the usefulness of surveillance systems for outbreak detection or the best ways to support this function. This report supplements previous guidelines for evaluating public health surveillance systems. Use of this framework is intended to improve decision-making regarding the implementation of surveillance for outbreak detection. Use of a standardized evaluation methodology, including description of system design and operation, also will enhance the exchange of information regarding methods to improve early detection of outbreaks. The framework directs particular attention to the measurement of timeliness and validity for outbreak detection. The evaluation framework is designed to support assessment and description of all surveillance approaches to early detection, whether through traditional disease reporting, specialized analytic routines for aberration detection, or surveillance using early indicators of disease outbreaks, such as syndromic surveillance.

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