Infectious disease surveillance is the ongoing collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of health data. This type of assessment is a core public health function. Communicable disease surveillance monitors patterns of disease occurrence and assesses the heath status of South Dakota’s population. Surveillance can detect sudden changes in disease occurrence, such as an outbreak, or identify long-term disease trends or new and emerging diseases. Surveillance activities are linked to public health actions, such as investigation, control and prevention, evaluation, or planning and allocating resources to address the diseases affecting the population.
An important component of surveillance is sharing data back with health care providers, public health agencies, policy makers, and the general population. The surveillance cycle is not complete until disease information is relayed to those who have responsibilities for the various public health and medical actions. Surveillance assessment reports should serve to inform and motivate. Infectious disease surveillance endeavors to: