Global Alert and Response (GAR)

WHO Report on Global Surveillance of Epidemic-prone Infectious Diseases: About this document

This report focuses on the analysis and interpretation of data collected by WHO on the surveillance of infectious epidemic-prone diseases, the strengths and weaknesses of the data and how the data can be used and interpreted. It uses a multi-disease approach and examines the surveillance of nine diseases, comparing and contrasting their global surveillance systems. A major feature of this report is the provision of detailed surveillance data for most of the nine diseases containing annual numbers of reported cases by country, spanning relatively long periods of time.

The introduction discusses common surveillance methods, explaining why surveillance is such an important component of public health systems, and how modern times and rapid change impact on infectious disease.

The specific disease chapters contain a background of each disease including a brief history, a short description of the transmission process, clinical features, and other characteristics of the diseases that are important for surveillance. The available data are described, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the surveillance system. This is followed by a summary of disease trends and a concluding section. A list of reference documents and web pages are also available.



Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge all the WHO country and regional offices who are the mainstay of WHO global surveillance systems. We would also like to thank the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group on HIV/AIDS and STI Surveillance for their contributions to Chapter 9.

This report is dedicated to the late Karin Ljungars Esteves, our former colleague at WHO, who made an enormous contribution to communicable disease surveillance activities over many years.


This report was prepared by:

M. Anker
D. Schaaf


With contributions from WHO, Geneva

R. Arthur
J. Barkway
M. Birmingham
A. Burton
C-L. Chaignat
P. Creese
P. Desjeux
P. Gavinio
J. Jannin
L. Kuppens
D. Lavanchy
S. Lazzari
P. Lucas
E. Netto
B. Piot
C. Roth
M. Ryan
E. Tikhomirov
R. Winkelmann


© World Health Organization, 2000
This document is not a formal publication of the World Health Organization (WHO) and all rights are reserved by the Organization. The document may, however be freely reviewed, abstracted, reproduced and translated, in part of or in whole, but not for sale nor for use in conjunction with commercial purposes.

The views expressed in documents by named authors are solely the responsibility of those authors.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication, including tables and maps, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the World Health Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Dotted lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.

The designations employed and the presentation of the information in this report do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the World Health Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

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