Surveillance report Open Access
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In 2001 Germany implemented a new electronic reporting system for surveillance of notifiable infectious diseases (SurvNet@RKI). The system is currently being used in all 431 local health departments (LHD), the 16 state health departments (SHD) and the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI), the national agency for infectious disease epidemiology. The SurvNet@RKI software is written in MS Access 97 and Visual Basic and it supports MS Access as well as MS SQL Server database management systems as a back-end. The database is designed as a distributed, dynamic database for 73 reporting categories with more than 600 fields and about 7000 predefined entry values. An integrated version management system documents deletion, undeletion, completion and correction of cases at any time and entry level and allows reproduction of previously conducted queries. Integrated algorithms and help functions support data quality and the application of case definitions. RKI makes the system available to all LHDs and SHDs free of charge. RKI receives an average of 300 000 case reports and 6240 outbreak reports per year through this system. A public web-based query interface, SurvStat@RKI, assures extensive and timely publication of the data. During the 5 years that SurvNet@RKI has been running in all LHDs and SHDs in Germany it has coped well with a complex federal structure which makes this system particularly attractive to multinational surveillance networks. The system is currently being migrated to Microsoft C#/.NET and transport formats in XML. Based on our experiences, we provide recommendations for the design and implementation of national or international electronic surveillance systems.


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