Real-Time Microbiology Laboratory Surveillance System to Detect Abnormal Events and Emerging Infections, Marseille, France - Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015
Real-Time Microbiology Laboratory Surveillance System to Detect Abnormal Events and Emerging Infections, Marseille, France
Although infectious diseases were declared under control and considered to be a past public health problem during the second half of the 20th century (1), these diseases, including those that are well-known, emerging, and reemerging, remain a major threat to humanity. Indeed, infectious pathogens possess an amazing common capacity to emerge and spread in unpredictable ways before they are detected by public health institutions (2). Infectious diseases have a substantial effect on both global human demographics (they are the second leading cause of death in humans worldwide, accounting for ≈15 million deaths) (3) and the economy (4), which has led the public health community to reconsider them as a real threat. This alarming observation has led public health authorities to try to improve infectious disease surveillance.
One of these strategies, known as traditional public health surveillance of infectious diseases, has been to use clinical case reports from sentinel laboratories or laboratory networks and direct reports of positive results from clinical laboratories to survey the presence of microbial agents known to be dangers to health in a precise population (5). Some examples of surveillance systems implemented by using this strategy are the National Tuberculosis Surveillance System in the United States (6), the surveillance system of the Netherlands Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Meningitis (7) and the European Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (8).
Another strategy, known as syndromic surveillance, consists of developing real-time surveillance systems capable of detecting abnormal epidemiologic events, not on the basis of infectious disease diagnosis data, but rather on the basis of nonspecific health indicators, such as absenteeism, chief complaints, and prescription drug sales (5,9). Such surveillance systems can be implemented nationally, such as the Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance System in England (10) or the National Retail Data Monitor in the United States (11), and regionally, such as the Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance in Canada (12) or the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network in Europe (13), or the systems can be administered by laboratories with large quantities of data and the financial and human resources to apply the information.
On the basis of our experience at the Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Marseille (AP-HM), we describe all the steps necessary for implementing a laboratory data–based syndromic surveillance system in a laboratory. Because of its simplicity, we believe that it can be rapidly applied and used as a first surveillance tool in well-established laboratories. We also show the advantages and limits of this surveillance system.
Mr. Abat is a PhD student at the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection, Aix-Marseille Université. His research interest is the implementation of computer tools for real-time epidemiologic surveillance of abnormal events based on clinical microbiology laboratory data.
We thank American Journal Experts for English corrections.
This work was partly funded by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Institut Hospitalo–Universitaire Méditerranée Infection.
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Suggested citation for this article: Abat C, Chaudet H, Colson P, Rolain JM, Raoult D. Real-time microbiology laboratory surveillance system to detect abnormal events and emerging infections, Marseille, France. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Aug [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2108.141419