Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Joann Lindenmayer, DVM,MPH

1. Introduction

ESSENTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE #1: Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.

This service includes accurate diagnosis of the community’s health status; the identification of threats to health and assessment of health service needs; timely collection, analysis and publication of information on access, utilization, costs and outcomes of personal health services; attention to the vital statistics and health status of specific-groups that are at higher risk than the total population; and collaboration to manage integrated information systems with private providers and health benefit plans.


Zoonoses : Arthropod-borne encephalitides, Vector ecology (mosquitoes), animals as sentinels of human disease

Environmental health: Effects of climate (zoonotic disease whose distribution is climate-dependent), Niche (zoonotic diseases associated with outdoor recreational activities and/or specific occupations), recreational health (prevention and control programs for zoonotic diseases associated with recreational activities), location and use of human resources, agencies and laboratory services

Community Health: Organization of Community Health activities (structure, function and responsibilities of manor federal, state and local public health agencies), administrative aspects of community health (public health program development, funding and implementation at federal, state and local levels)

Epidemiology and Biostatistics: epidemiological concepts (use of epidemiology in surveillance), measures of disease occurrence (frequency), data organization and presentation, patterns of disease in populations (host/agent/environment interaction and determinants of each, space and time factors), epidemiologic surveillance (purposes and use of surveillance, data sources, establishing a surveillance system, surveillance system evaluation)


SECONDARY EXAMPLE: Arboviral encephalitides

2. Learning Objectives

At the end of class, students should be able to:

  • Define surveillance and list the features of an ideal surveillance system

  • Describe the steps involved in the evaluation of a public health surveillance system

  • Discuss the application of surveillance systems in human medicine and veterinary amedicine, identifying differences between the two

  • Evaluate a previously unknown surveillance system in a systematic fashion and make recommendations to improve it

  • Know where to go for information about prevention and control plans for Arboviral encephalitides

3. Required Reading

CDC. Updated Guidelines for Evaluating Public Health Surveillance systems. Recommendations from the Guidelines Working Group . MMWR Recommendations and Reports 2001; 50(RR-13):1-23.

Dato V, Wagner MM, A Fapohunda. How Outbreaks of Infectious Disease are Detected: A Review of Surveillance Systems and Outbreaks. Public Health Reports 2004; 119:464-71.

Vourc’h G, Bridges VE, Gibbens H, De Groot BD et al. Detecting Emerging Diseases in Farm Animals through Clinical Observations . Emerg Inf Dis 2006; 12(2): 204-10.

Marano NN, Rossiter S, Stamey K et al. The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) for enteric bacteria, 1996-1999: surveillance for action. In Symposium: Public Health in the New Millennium. ` JAVMA 2000; 217:1829-30.

Van der Schalle W, Gardner HS, Bantle JA et al. Animals as Sentinels of Human Health Hazards of Environmental Chemicals. Environ Health Perspect 1999; 107:309-315.

Rabinowitz P, Gordon A, Chudnov D et al. Animals as sentinels of bioterrorism agents . EID 2006; 12:467-52

CDC. Epidemic/Epizootic West Nile Virus in the United States: Guidelines for Surveillance, Prevention and Control (under Resources in left column). US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Division of Viral and Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Fort Collins, CO 2003; 3rd revision, pages 1-77.

4. Required Websites

Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases. National Center for Infectious Diseases. Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases

West Nile Virus

Domestic Arboviral Encephalitides

MDPH, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology Program, Arbovirus Information Website

MDAR, State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board, Mosquito Control Projects and Districts