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      The Past, Present, and Future of Public Health Surveillance

      review-article
      1 , 2 , *
      Scientifica
      Hindawi Publishing Corporation

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          Abstract

          This paper provides a review of the past, present, and future of public health surveillance—the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of health data for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health action. Public health surveillance dates back to the first recorded epidemic in 3180 B.C. in Egypt. Hippocrates (460 B.C.–370 B.C.) coined the terms endemic and epidemic, John Graunt (1620–1674) introduced systematic data analysis, Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) started epidemic field investigation, William Farr (1807–1883) founded the modern concept of surveillance, John Snow (1813–1858) linked data to intervention, and Alexander Langmuir (1910–1993) gave the first comprehensive definition of surveillance. Current theories, principles, and practice of public health surveillance are summarized. A number of surveillance dichotomies, such as epidemiologic surveillance versus public health surveillance, are described. Some future scenarios are presented, while current activities that can affect the future are summarized: exploring new frontiers; enhancing computer technology; improving epidemic investigations; improving data collection, analysis, dissemination, and use; building on lessons from the past; building capacity; enhancing global surveillance. It is concluded that learning from the past, reflecting on the present, and planning for the future can further enhance public health surveillance.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Scientifica (Cairo)
                Scientifica (Cairo)
                SCIENTIFICA
                Scientifica
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                2090-908X
                2012
                5 August 2012
                : 2012
                : 875253
                Affiliations
                1Injury Prevention Research Centre, Medical College of Shantou University, Shantou 515041, China
                2Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5
                Author notes

                Academic Editors: K. Eriksson and G. Mastrangelo

                Article
                10.6064/2012/875253
                3820481
                24278752
                eb204140-7b72-4ac5-9d97-f75f23133cd4
                Copyright © 2012 Bernard C. K. Choi.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 21 June 2012
                : 11 July 2012
                Categories
                Review Article

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