Epidemiologic surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, recording, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data reflecting the current health status of a community or population. The scope of epidemiologic surveillance has evolved from an initial focus on infectious disease monitoring and intervention to a more inclusive scope that includes chronic diseases, injuries, environmental exposures, and social factors that influence health status. Surveillance is based on both passive and active data collection processes.
Surveillance is a tool used to detect and monitor epidemics and public health emergencies. This process includes: suspicion of an infectious disease, confirmation of disease, disease reporting, case investigation, prevention and control to limit the spread of disease, and feedback to educate health practitioners and healthcare providers about the epidemiologic characteristics of disease and its burden in the population. Provide electronic surveillance of communicable disease.
Improvements in electronic lab reporting, coupled with the electronic transmission of initial case reports to local health units, have reduced the time to get critical communicable disease information to those in the field who conduct the first level of investigations.