7.3 Which Type of Surveillance Is Best?

An outbreak is characterized by increased occurrences, such as infectious diseases or the number of microbes in a geographical region above the threshold rate. This increase could be due to a single infection, such as anthrax, Legionella, cluster A streptococcal infection, or multiple infections. The increase could happen in weeks or months and in a single entity or across multiple hospitals.

The term pseudo-outbreak refers to a situation in which a microscopic organism is found in a culture at a higher rate than anticipated and cannot be linked to the alleged infection intimated by primary culture from a clinical standpoint.

The following information is collected for conducting appropriate surveillance:

  • Name
  • Date of birth (DOB)
  • Social Security number (SSN)
  • Sexual identity
  • Hospital record number
  • Ward number/name
  • Name of the consultant
  • Date of admittance
  • Date of initial infection
  • Date of discharge or death
  • Site of disease
  • Microorganism(s) sequestered with antimicrobial sensitivity or verification of infectious disease by other methods
  • Medical assistance and practices at the time of infection.
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