Details of notified diseases collected locally are submitted regularly in an aggregated form to the HPA Centre for Infections, London.

Data collected in this way can be used to monitor local disease occurrence and explore local and national trends in infectious diseases.

Notification data complement laboratory reporting systems and provide information on some diseases which are often not diagnosed in laboratories, e.g. whooping cough.

Surveillance is:           

  • Systematic collection of information
  • Collation
  • Analysis of data
  • Dissemination of results

Surveillance can:       

  • Describe patterns of disease
  • Identify risk factors
  • Indicate a change in epidemiology

Learning bite

Good surveillance is vital and can enable early detection of outbreaks of diseases such as food poisoning or epidemics of influenza. Good surveillance can evaluate the effectiveness of prevention and control programmes and set priorities for resource allocation.

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