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Am J Epidemiol. 2002 May 1;155(9):866-74.

Completeness of notifiable infectious disease reporting in the United States: an analytical literature review.

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Division of Public Health Surveillance and Informatics, Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Despite state and local laws requiring medical providers to report notifiable infectious diseases to public health authorities, reporting is believed to be incomplete. Through means of an analytical literature review, the authors synthesize current knowledge on the completeness of disease reporting and identify factors associated with reporting completeness. The review was limited to published studies, conducted in the United States between 1970 and 1999, that quantitatively assessed infectious disease reporting completeness. Thirty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. Reporting completeness, expressed between 0% and 100%, was treated as the dependent outcome variable in statistical analysis; disease, study location, time period, study design, and study size were treated as independent variables. Fifty-six distinct measures of reporting completeness were identified for 21 diseases. Reporting completeness varied from 9% to 99% and was most strongly associated with the disease being reported. The mean reporting completeness for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis as a group was significantly higher (79%) than for all other diseases combined (49%) (p < 0.01).

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