International epidemic intelligence at the Institut de Veille Sanitaire, France.The French Institute for Public Health Surveillance monitors health events of potential international importance occurring worldwide to provide timely warning to French health authorities. We reviewed the nature and place of occurrence of the last 200 events. From an individual country's perspective, the need for multiple sources is emphasized.
Local epidemics may rapidly acquire international importance due to international travel and trade (1). With early warning, timely and adequate control measures can be adopted to prevent transmission. Epidemic intelligence is the systematic collection and collation COLLATION, descents. A term used in the laws of Louisiana. Collation -of goods is the supposed or real return to the mass of the succession, which an heir makes of the property he received in advance of his share or otherwise, in order that such property may be divided, together with the of verified and unverified information from various sources, such as governments, United Nations organizations, nongovernmental organizations Transnational organizations of private citizens that maintain a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Nongovernmental organizations may be professional associations, foundations, multinational businesses, or simply groups with a common interest in (NGOs), mass media, and personal communications (2). The Internet is transforming global disease surveillance (3). Information is selected by specific criteria, verified (if informal), and thoroughly analyzed before communication to the public.
The Institut de Veille Sanitaire The French Institut de veille sanitaire (Sanitary Surveillance Institute) is a Health minister public establishment. Its mission is to survey the health of the population and, if required (for example in the case of an epidemics), to alert the administration, health (InVS)--the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance--set up an epidemic intelligence unit to monitor outbreaks worldwide along the lines of the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Epidemic and Pandemic pandemic /pan·dem·ic/ (pan-dem´ik)
1. a widespread epidemic of a disease.
2. widely epidemic.
Epidemic over a wide geographic area.
n. Alert and Response. At the national level, this unit's legal mandate is to detect, verify, and rapidly assess information on potential international health threats, which may affect populations in France or French nationals worldwide. Its main task is to inform French authorities, public health professionals, and other partners of these epidemic risks and to place events with excessive media coverage in the proper perspective. Information is structured and widely communicated weekly through the electronic Bulletin Hebdomadaire International (BHI BHI Baker Hughes Incorporated
BHI Brain Heart Infusion (agar)
BHI Better Hearing Institute
BHI British Horological Institute (UK)
BHI Boots Healthcare International
BHI Branch If Higher ) (www.invs.sante.fr/international/index. htm). To better assess the type, characteristics, and location of alerts documented by the unit, we reviewed the health events posted in the BHI, i.e., all confirmed information on potential international health threats that may affect populations in France or French nationals worldwide. We also examined initial signals and the use of various sources of international epidemic intelligence.
We reviewed 200 events posted in the 32 BHI from May 17, 2006 to December 27, 2006. We examined event topics, geographic location (country and world region), onset date of the first case/outbreak, source, and publication date of the first signal, delay between first occurrence and the first signal, signal type (passive email alert vs. active manual search) and alarm status (first report vs. follow-up).
Potential sources were formal outbreak reports communicated by countries and supranational Supranational
An international organization, or union, whereby member states transcend national boundaries
or interests to share in the decision-making and vote on issues pertaining to the wider grouping. organizations (both official and NGO NGO
Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization ) posted on the Internet and scientific online forums such as ProMED-mail (available from www.promedmail.org) (4-6). A dedicated tool was used to collect information available on the Internet: the Global Public Health Intelligence Network The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) is an electronic public health early warning system developed by Canada's Public Health Agency, and is part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Outbreak and Alert Response Network (GOARN). (GPHIN GPHIN Global Public Health Intelligence Network ) (available from www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/media/nr-rp/2004/2004_gphinrmispbk_e.html) is a software codeveloped by WHO and Health Canada Health Canada (French: Santé Canada) is the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health.
Health Canada's goal is to improve Canadian life by improving Canadian longevity, lifestyle and use of public healthcare. . GPH GPH Gallons Per Hour
GPH Gospel Publishing House (Pentecostal Christian publisher)
GPH Grams Per Hour
GPH Good Payment History
GPH Generalized Proportional Hazard(s)
GPH Gnome Phone 1N is a secure, restricted-access early warning system that gathers media reports of public health significance on a 24/7 basis (7). Like the medical intelligence system developed by the European community European Community: see European Union.
European Community (EC)
Organization formed in 1967 with the merger of the European Economic Community, European Coal and Steel Community, and European Atomic Energy Community. , the GPHIN is a multilingual mul·ti·lin·gual
1. Of, including, or expressed in several languages: a multilingual dictionary.
2. system that provides relevant unverified information on public health events by monitoring global media sources in 7 languages. This automated process includes a filter for relevancy, but specific email alerts and the categorizing of information must be complemented by human analysis.
The highest proportion of events (53%, 105/199) occurred in Asia (Table 1). Of these events, 61% (122/199) were highly pathogenic path·o·gen·ic or path·o·ge·net·ic
1. Having the capability to cause disease.
2. Producing disease.
3. Relating to pathogenesis. avian influenza avian influenza: see influenza. (HPAI HPAI Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
HPAI Hospital Pharmacists Association, Ireland
HPAI Hewlett Packard Associates International ) (H5N1) infections in animals or humans. These, combined with multicountry outbreaks of cholera cholera (kŏl`ərə) or Asiatic cholera, acute infectious disease caused by strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that have been infected by bacteriophages. (8%), chikungunya
or breakbone fever or dandy fever
Infectious, disabling mosquito-borne fever. Other symptoms include extreme joint pain and stiffness, intense pain behind the eyes, a return of fever after brief pause, and a characteristic rash. (7%), and poliomyelitis poliomyelitis (pō'lēōmī'əlī`tĭs), polio, or infantile paralysis, acute viral infection, mainly of children but also affecting older persons. (6%), were the most recurring topics posted in the BHI (Table 2).
The first signal's source could be identified in 88% (176/200) of events. News reports collected using the GPH1N were the most important initial sources of information, providing 36% (63/176) of all initial signals (online Appendix Table, available from www.cdc.gov/EID/ content/13/10/1590-appT.htm). Of these 63 events, 37 (59%) were automatically forwarded by the GPH1N e-alert system, and 26 (41%) were detected through active searches. Official signals from the WHO network accounted for 29% (51/176) of all events posted in the BHI; ProMED-mail provided the first signal for 17% of the events. Of 176 events included in the BHI, 20% (35/176) were first detected only by manual and nonspecific nonspecific /non·spe·cif·ic/ (non?spi-sif´ik)
1. not due to any single known cause.
2. not directed against a particular agent, but rather having a general effect.
1. Internet searches. Furthermore, 60% (105/176) of the posted events were first detected through informal sources that required extensive verification.
On average, delay between the first case of an outbreak (including retrospectively) and the first widely available signal was 3 months and 14 days (range 1 day-2 years, 10.5 months; n = 86). Among the 200 events posted, 107 were reported for the first time. For these, mean delay between the first case and the first signal was 1 month and 23 days (range 1 day-5 months, 16 days; n = 63). Based on a small sample of alerts, the mean delay for alert messages provided by the GPHIN was shorter (I month, 19 days; n = 19) than that of the ProMED-mail (2 months, 4 days; n = 6).
As in the 2006 WHO report (2), influenza A influenza A
Influenza caused by infection with a strain of influenza virus type A.
influenza A Infectious disease An avian virus, especially of ducks–which in China live near the pig reservoir and 'vector'; (H5NI) HPAI cases and cholera outbreaks were the major topics included in the BHI. Alerts posted for this period mainly concerned Asia due to the occurrence of influenza A (H5NI). Due to the specific economic and political situations of each country, availability and sensitivity of information sources differed. Multiple information sources somewhat compensated for these differences. Delays between the occurrence of events and first reports reflect the following: 1) interval between the occurrence of a first case and development into a full-blown outbreak of international importance; 2) limitations of communicable disease communicable disease
A disease that is transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual or indirectly through a vector. Also called contagious disease. surveillance, i.e., interval before an event is detected; 3) intrinsic limitations of epidemic intelligence, i.e., availability of information; and 4) the unavoidable prioritization of alerts, given time and resource constraints.
GPHIN was more efficient than any other information source used in this analysis, including ProMED-mail, both in terms of number of signals and rapidity of signal availability after event occurrence. Signals from GPHIN, however, are unverified media reports, and not all relevant events for our specific needs are electronically forwarded as e-alert. Permanent proactive searches using GPHIN or similar tools remain compulsory to address this limitation. Time-consuming human-operated screening of each report of the daily GPHIN list (500-2,000 reports/day) is needed as signal detection cannot be automated. Verification processes are essential because reports of outbreaks are widely disseminated and easily accessible to the public (1).
WHO and other supranational organizations, such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is an agency of the European Union (EU), located in Stockholm (Solna Municipality), Sweden. The ECDC has been created to help strengthen Europe’s defences against infectious diseases, such as influenza, , monitor health events of international importance. However, these organizations cannot completely meet all needs of individual countries. Our experience at a national institute shows that implementation of epidemic intelligence should be specifically tailored to effectively monitor the health of a country's population and translate directly into public health action. For example, in 2005, an extensive cholera outbreak was detected and documented in Senegal, with far-reaching implications for Franco-Senegalese pilgrims. Information posted in the BHI is used by physicians in French tropical disease Tropical diseases are infectious diseases that either occur uniquely in tropical and subtropical regions (which is rare) or, more commonly, are either more widespread in the tropics or more difficult to prevent or control. departments and travel clinics, who can provide timely information to travelers, and target clinical examinations of those returning with suggestive symptoms. The operational suspect case definition for influenza A (H5N1) in returning travelers is continuously updated as foci appear in various areas. information is also forwarded to the French Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries. to alert a larger segment of the population through institutional websites or warnings on airport billboards.
This work was supported by the Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France.
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Brice Rotureau, * Philippe Barboza, * Arnaud Tarantola, * and Christophe Paquet *
* Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France
Address for correspondence: Philippe Barboza, Departement International et Tropical, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, 12 Rue du Val d'Osne, 94415 Saint-Maurice CEDEX, France; email: email@example.com
Dr Rotureau is an epidemiologist at the Tropical and International Department of the French Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France. His research interests involve the study of ecologic, epidemiologic, and physiologic properties of Trypanosomatidae parasites and the diseases they cause.
Table 1. Events posted in the BHI from May 17 through December 27, 2006, by world region * Region HPAI (H5N1) Other Total Africa 21 29 50 Americas 0 11 11 Asia 80 25 105 Europe 20 9 29 Middle East 1 3 4 Total 122 77 199 * BHI, Bulletin Hebdomadaire Internhational; HPAI, highly pathogenic avian influenza. Table 2. Events posted in the BHI from May 17 through December 27, 2006, by topic * Event No. (%) HPAI (H5N1) in animals 67 (34) HPAI (H5N1) in human 55 (28) Cholera 16 (8) Chikungunya 13 (7) Dengue fever 13 (7) Poliomyelitis 11 (6) Malaria 6 (3) Japanese encephalitis 4 (2) Adulterated alcohol intoxication 3 (2) Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever 3 (2) Plague 2 (1) Yellow fever 2 (1) Deaths following influenza vaccination 1 (0.5) Measles 1 (0.5) Micro-algae intoxication 1 (0.5) Rift Valley fever 1 (0.5) Viral meningitis 1 (0.5) Total 200 (100) * BHI, Bulletin Hebdornadaire International; HPAI, highly pathogenic avian influenza.