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J Public Health (Oxf). 2004 Sep;26(3):288-92.

What are the most appropriate methods of surveillance for monitoring an emerging respiratory infection such as SARS?

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Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford OX2 6QA.


Effective surveillance is necessary for the successful management of emerging infection. It allows public health protection measures such as contact tracing and isolation to be put in place. This study aimed to find the most appropriate surveillance method for a disease like SARS. Existing surveillance methods were evaluated against a set of new criteria in a qualitative manner. Influenza and tuberculosis (TB) surveillance were used as models. A literature search was undertaken to find relevant evidence. The results show that TB surveillance is more appropriate than influenza surveillance as a model because it is more complete in its reporting. Clinician-based reporting is better than laboratory-based because it is more timely. The results suggest a clinician-based notification system would be the most appropriate form of surveillance for a disease like SARS for public health purposes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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