Public Health Surveillance Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Public Health Surveillance?
Public health surveillance is an invaluable tool for public health agencies and other organizations in monitoring disease, discovering new epidemics, and helping to determine the effectiveness of existing interventions. It enables the systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data to inform decision-making processes related to the prevention and control of illness and injury in populations. Public health surveillance has been a major component of public health efforts since at least 1838 when John Snow used it to investigate a cholera outbreak in London. Public health surveillance can be used for many purposes. It can be used to track the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza or HIV/AIDS; monitor vaccine safety; identify environmental hazards; detect outbreaks of foodborne illnesses; assess trends in chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease; evaluate the success of public health programs and policies; provide early warning systems for natural disasters; assist with emergency preparedness planning; and more. The primary goals of public health surveillance are to detect changes in disease patterns over time, identify risk factors associated with certain diseases or conditions, inform decisions regarding resource allocation within communities, plan appropriate programs or interventions that will address public health needs effectively, identify population subgroups that may be particularly vulnerable to certain conditions or exposures, develop strategies for controlling outbreaks before they become widespread epidemics. Additionally, it helps guide research into new treatments and preventive measures as well as provide valuable information on how different populations are affected by various exposures or conditions.