Other forms of surveillance

Where all information reaches a single central authority, it is reasonable to assume that it is representative of the entire area from which it is collected. An example would be a public health laboratory, where more complex and standardized results are available.

Other allied disciplines may collect data that is relevant to health, such as veterinary and entomology services. Sleeping sickness is a more widespread and devastating disease in cattle than humans, so outbreaks in cattle are indicators to take precautions in associated human communities. Anthrax and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) are other examples.

Epidemics may first be reported by persons in authority, such as village leaders, school teachers, priests, etc. Indeed, they can often be relied upon to give continued and reasonably accurate information for the community they serve. It is often one of the functions of a village leader to collect data on births and deaths, which can be valuable in estimating the population.

More information on surveillance can be found in Section 5.3 and under each disease in Chapters 7-17.

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