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Int J Epidemiol. 1995 Apr;24(2):435-40.

Attitude of French general practitioners to the public health surveillance of communicable diseases.

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Unité de Recherches Biomathématiques et Biostatistiques de l'INSERM (U263), Faculté Saint Antoine, Paris, France.



The attitude of general practitioners (GPs) to public health surveillance is not well documented, even though they furnish essential information, in particular for sentinel surveillance among the general population.


The attitude of 560 French GPs to the surveillance of 17 communicable diseases was researched. Half the GPs had previous experience in public health surveillance and the other half did not. Their motivation for belonging to a public health surveillance network and some of their demographic characteristics were also investigated. Their attitude was compared with an objective evaluation of public health surveillance priorities, based on 10 criteria.


Primarily, GPs are interested in the surveillance of uncommon and serious diseases (HIV infection, tuberculosis, meningitis), and/or preventable ones (viral hepatitis, flu' syndrome, measles, sexually transmitted diseases), which coincides with the choices made by public health decision makers. The age of the GPs, their type of practice (urban/rural), and their participation (or not) in a surveillance network modify their priorities: in general the GPs' perception of the risks to which their patients may be exposed influences their choice of which diseases should be subject to surveillance in general medicine.

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