Prospective Detection of Outbreaks

Authored by: Benjamin Allévius , Michael Höhle

Handbook of Infectious Disease Data Analysis

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138626713
eBook ISBN: 9781315222912
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter aims to provide an overview of the different types of data available on infectious diseases, to inform design, analyses, and interpretation of studies. Infectious disease data can be divided in epidemiological data (resulting from the observation of humans) or microbiological data (focused on the infecting pathogen). A key step before analyzing the data is often to agree on a case definition, which usually combines epidemiological and microbiological criteria to decide who is classified as “infected.” Infectious disease data is collected through surveillance, dedicated (epidemiological and/or microbiological) studies and outbreak investigations. The chapter presents a non-exhaustive overview of sources where this data can be accessed. While analyzing such data, it is important to understand the various potential sources of error and bias in the data that may arise during data collection and their implications for results and conclusions of subsequent analyses. Equally important are the constraints imposed by confidentiality and privacy on data collection and data analysis.

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