How does WHO get information about disease outbreaks in the affected countries?

Online Q&A
January 2005

Q: How does WHO get information about disease outbreaks in the affected countries?

A: Each day, WHO teams in affected countries collect reports and data to monitor the occurrence of communicable diseases. All of this information is gathered by local and provincial health clinics, national ministries of health, nongovernmental organizations working in the countries, and other individuals involved in the emergency.

The reports are then collated, analysed and assessed by disease specialists in the WHO Global Tsunami Task Force, located in the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia and WHO headquarters in Geneva.

The reports cover all the surveillance information needed to issue an early warning of a communicable disease outbreak. They also include a description of where these diseases occur, how widespread they are, and whether adequate control measures are in place. From this assessment, a daily situation report is disseminated throughout the WHO global network and its technical partners and published on the WHO web site.

WHO is working with all partners in the affected countries to intensify communicable disease surveillance for early warning of outbreaks so that appropriate control measures can be implemented as soon as possible.

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