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Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Mar;11(3):442-5.

Notifiable disease surveillance and practicing physicians.

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Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Robert Koch Institute, Seetrasse 10, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


Primary care physicians in Germany are essential participants in infectious disease surveillance through mandatory reporting. Feedback on such surveillance should reflect the needs and attitudes of these physicians. These issues were investigated in a questionnaire survey among 8,550 randomly sampled physicians in Germany in 2001. Of the 1,320 respondents, 59.3% claimed not to have received any feedback on infectious disease surveillance, and 3.7% perceived feedback as not important. Logistic regression analysis showed that physicians in the former East Germany were 2.2 times more likely to have received feedback than those in the former West Germany. Physicians preferred to receive occasional reports (e.g., in case of outbreaks, 31.6%) as opposed to actively having to search for constantly updated information on the Internet (7.8%). The preferred formats were fax (31.7%), mail (30.9%), and the official organ of the German Medical Association (Deutsches Arzteblatt) (30.5%). Feedback of surveillance data to physicians should be delivered through occasional nonelectronic reports on current issues of local public health importance.

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