• Philip S. Brachman


The term surveillance, derived from the French word meaning “to watch over,” may be defined as a system of close observation of all aspects of the occurrence and distribution of a given disease through the systematic collection, tabulation, analysis, and dissemination of all relevant data pertaining to that disease. Although the methodology of surveillance is basically descriptive, its function is more than merely collective and archival. Surveillance must be dynamic, current, purposeful, and result in a public health action. This action frequently results in the establishment of a new or the reinforcement of an existing public health policy. It is fundamental to prompt and effective control and prevention of disease. Traditionally, surveillance was first applied to the acute communicable diseases beginning in the early 1950s.(14) The term has been rapidly expanded since then, to embrace not only a wide variety of noninfectious diseases but also other health-related events such as environmental hazards, injuries, immunizations, the distribution of biological products, and health-care delivery.


Surveillance Program Surveillance Data Francisella Tularensis Influenza Surveillance Surveillance Report 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip S. Brachman
    • 1
  1. 1.Emory University School of Public HealthAtlantaUSA

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