Using Timeliness Metrics to Track Progress and Identify Gaps in Disease Surveillance

This article describes how tracking the timeliness of disease outbreak detection, verification, notification, and response can provide insight into surveillance capabilities and indicate where performance might be improved.

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Disease Tracking and Surveillance

Disease surveillance helps us detect disease cases, understand burden of disease and risk factors, provide the basis for timely and informed decision-making, guide control measures, and monitor impacts. Since the onset of COVID-19, surveillance efforts have worked to provide real-time tracking and forecast data, despite challenges with diagnostic capacity, case reporting, insufficient contact tracing, and fragmented data systems. COVID-19 has highlighted the need to invest in modern data systems, expand and skill up the workforce, and ensure data reporting and interpretation retain high ethical and epidemiological standards.