There is also a growing trend for automatic reporting via computer-to-computer interfaces. Health departments review, triage, aggregate, and investigate these reports.3 Figure 5.4 provides a sample disease reporting form.
Health departments also receive data from sentinel physicians, as described in Chapter 3. An example of sentinel surveillance data is that collected for influenza. Health departments collect
3 Health departments also receive information from individual citizens, who may notice, for example, that many individuals attending a church picnic became ill the following day (Ruiz, 2004).
and analyze these data to determine the level of influenza activity and the strains of the virus that are circulating in the population. (Birkhead and Maylahn, 2000).
As described in Chapter 3, health departments collect a wide range of information during an investigation. They collect patient demographic information such as name, age, and address; possible sources of the outbreak; potential contacts of the patient; exposure period; and results of laboratory testing.
Jurisdictions, including those in Pennsylvania, New York, and California, are currently working to streamline the data collection process and to make all data available in an integrated database.
Was this article helpful?