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close this bookWHO Recommended Surveillance Standards (WHO; 1999; 157 pages)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentAcronyms
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentNational Coordination of Communicable Disease Surveillance
View the documentExplanatory notes
View the documentSurveillance activities: criteria and WHO Department
View the documentCommunicable disease contacts in Regional Offices
open this folder and view contentsDiseases
open this folder and view contentsSyndromes
View the documentAnnex 1 Software free and in the public domain
View the documentAnnex 2 Proposed surveillance definitions
View the documentAnnex 3 Role and use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mapping for epidemiological surveillance


This document has been produced jointly by technical clusters of WHO, as well as by UNAIDS, in order to bring together WHO recommended standards for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It is not meant to replace existing technical guidelines or be an exhaustive description of surveillance of all diseases. This document serves only as a guide to good practice and may help to harmonize 1 surveillance activities.


1 For further information, comments and suggestions, please contact either the relevant WHO Regional Office (contact information pages 18-23) or, at Headquarters in Geneva, Dr G. Rodier (rodierg@who.ch), Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response, Tel: (4122) 791 2109; Fax: (4122) 791 4198; E-mail: Surveillancekit@who.ch

The purpose of this manual is to be a handy reference for key elements and contact information for all communicable diseases/syndromes associated with current WHO control programmes. It should be particularly useful at the Ministry of Health level in Member States, in approaching integrated surveillance of communicable diseases/syndromes.

The document is intended to be updated on a regular basis. This reflects the changing nature of infectious diseases and accompanying diagnostic and surveillance methods. It also reflects the multidisciplinary nature of disease surveillance in which many different programmes and partners are involved. The diseases and syndromes are organized in alphabetical order for easy reference. For each disease or syndrome there is a description of the rationale for surveillance, case definition, types of surveillance, minimum data elements, data analyses and principal uses of data for decision-making. In addition, the relevant WHO contact(s) are included with contact details. ICD-10 codes are provided for standardization of reporting and international data exchange.

A brief overview of the methods proposed for coordinating a national plan for communicable disease surveillance follows this introduction. Annex 1 provides information on surveillance-related software, and Annex 2 is a glossary of surveillance-related terms.

A first issue of the manual (November 1997) elicited many suggestions, for which we are grateful. This has led to some revision for practically every item in the present version, and the document is therefore reissued in toto. Major technical revisions concern AIDS and HIV, the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and the vaccine-preventable diseases. The item on bacillary dysentery has been deleted because of overlap with the syndrome of bloody diarrhoea. Two new items have been added: Haemophilus influenzae type b disease and viral haemorrhagic fever syndromes.


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