Term: Disease Surveillance

Description: Disease surveillance is the detection, rapid verification and response to epidemic-prone and emerging disease threats. The World Health Organization, the Office of International Epizooties (OIE - an international animal disease surveillance program), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)and the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS) all work together to minimize the impact of diseases on the health and economy of the world's population.

In 2005 the International Society for Disease Surveillance was launched. The mission of the International Society for Disease Surveillance is to improve population health by advancing the field of disease surveillance. In support of this mission, the Society provides an educational and scientific forum where epidemiologists, informaticists, public health practitioners, health care providers, statisticians, and others can work together to explore and address population health monitoring across institutional and professional boundaries.

CDC Data & Statistics Resources:
  • 8-City Enhanced Terrorism Surveillance Project
  • Active Bacterial Core Surveillance
  • AIDS Public Information Dataset U.S. Surveillance
  • Birth Defects Surveillance
  • Blood Disorders Surveillance
  • DSN
  • EARS
  • etc.

Major Diseases under Surveillance

Diseases targeted for eradication or elimination
  • Poloimyelitis
  • Dracunculiasis
  • Neonatal tetanus
  • Leprosy
Epidemic prone diseases
  • Bacillary dysentery
  • Yellow Fever
  • Meningococcal Meningitis
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
Diseases which are a major public health problem
  • Diarrhoea (< 5-year old children)
  • Pneumonia (< 5-year old children)
  • Malaria
  • rypanosomiasis
  • Onchocerciasis
  • Tuberculosis

Other Areas of Disease Surveillance

Infectious Animal and Zoonotic Disease Surveillance


Integrated Disease Surveillance Project Tribal Development Plan
The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) covering all states in India seeks to assist the central and state governments to shift from a centrally driven, vertically organized disease surveillance system to one which is coordinated by the center and implemented by the states, districts and communities. Since the tribal population constitutes the poorest and the most vulnerable of the social groups in the Project, a Tribal Development Plan is proposed as an integral part of IDSP. World Bank’s Operational Directive 4.20 related to Indigenous People is triggered in IDSP.

There are 635 tribes in India located in five major tribal belts across the country. Based on 1991 Census data, tribes account for 8.08 percent of the country’s population (68 million out of 846 million). 7 Indian states account for more than 75 percent of the tribal population. The main concentration of tribal people is the central tribal belt in the middle part of the India and in the north-eastern States. However, they have their presence in all States and Union Territories except the State of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh. The predominant tribal populated States of the country (tribal population more than 50% of the total population) are: Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep. There are 533 tribes (with many overlapping types in more than one State) as per notified Schedule under Article 342 of the Constitution of India in different States and Union Territories of the country with the largest number of 62 being in the State of Orissa (details in annex 1). The prominent tribal areas constitute about 15 percent of the total geographical area of the country and correspond largely to under developed areas of the country, wherein tribes inhabit isolated villages and hamlets.

Widespread poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition, lack of personal hygiene, absence of drinking water, sanitary living conditions and health education, poor maternal and child health services, and ineffective coverage by national health and nutritional services, have been identified as conditions responsible for poor health status of the poor. Tribal settlements tend to be small and isolated and difficult to reach with facilities and services. Even when rural tribal people live in larger villages, they may be separated in hamlets. However, there are some tribal people who are relatively well integrated into the communities and access and utilize facilities as other subgroups do. Some tribal groups are nomadic and undertake seasonal migration in response to the need for livelihood or employment. In addition, economic development is forcing out-migration from traditionally tribal areas into cities, and often to the margins of such agglomerations. The ways in which the project would reach these different residential situations are outlined in the sections on Institutional mechanisms and Implementation and Local Participation. The project seeks to involve all stakeholders including tribes in disease surveillance to enable rapid identification of disease conditions and outbreaks to prevent large scale impacts and also is geared towards a quick response from the health system to this information. Involvement of tribes in the project would contribute to improved heath status among them.

DOD - The Military Health System is combining a number of health information technology systems and employees into a single organization to promote the health of military personnel. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England signed a memorandum Feb. 26 establishing the new Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. The center’s functions include analyzing health surveillance data, providing information on known and potential health threats, and responding to disease outbreaks by monitoring data and coordinating investigations and assessments.

Web Resources:

Related Terminology:
GHIT, CDC, Health surveillance