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BMC Public Health

, 8:146

First Online: 30 April 2008Received: 19 December 2007Accepted: 30 April 2008DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-8-146

Cite this article as: Meynard, JB., Chaudet, H., Green, A.D. et al. BMC Public Health 2008 8: 146. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-8-146


BackgroundIn recent years a wide variety of epidemiological surveillance systems have been developed to provide early identification of outbreaks of infectious disease. Each system has had its own strengths and weaknesses. In 2002 a Working Group of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC produced a framework for evaluation, which proved suitable for many public health surveillance systems. However this did not easily adapt to the military setting, where by necessity a variety of different parameters are assessed, different constraints placed on the systems, and different objectives required. This paper describes a proposed framework for evaluation of military syndromic surveillance systems designed to detect outbreaks of disease on operational deployments.

MethodsThe new framework described in this paper was developed from the cumulative experience of British and French military syndromic surveillance systems. The methods included a general assessment framework CDC, followed by more specific methods of conducting evaluation. These included Knowledge-Attitude-Practice surveys KAP surveys, technical audits, ergonomic studies, simulations and multi-national exercises. A variety of military constraints required integration into the evaluation. Examples of these include the variability of geographical conditions in the field, deployment to areas without prior knowledge of naturally-occurring disease patterns, the differences in field sanitation between locations and over the length of deployment, the mobility of military forces, turnover of personnel, continuity of surveillance across different locations, integration with surveillance systems from other nations working alongside each other, compatibility with non-medical information systems, and security.

ResultsA framework for evaluation has been developed that can be used for military surveillance systems in a staged manner consisting of initial, intermediate and final evaluations. For each stage of the process parameters for assessment have been defined and methods identified.

ConclusionThe combined experiences of French and British syndromic surveillance systems developed for use in deployed military forces has allowed the development of a specific evaluation framework. The tool is suitable for use by all nations who wish to evaluate syndromic surveillance in their own military forces. It could also be useful for civilian mobile systems or for national security surveillance systems.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-8-146 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Herve Chaudet, Andrew D Green, Henry L Jefferson, Gaetan Texier, Daniel Webber, Bruce Dupuy and Jean-Paul Boutin contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Jean-Baptiste Meynard - Herve Chaudet - Andrew D Green - Henry L Jefferson - Gaetan Texier - Daniel Webber - Bruce Dupuy


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