Establishing priorities for national communicable disease surveillance: POTENTIAL TO DRIVE PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY
The definition of ‘potential to drive public health policy’ implies that other criteria of incidence, severity, risk perception and preventability should be considered in determining the potential to drive public health policy. The factor is divided into three levels: ‘low’ with a score of 1; ‘medium’ with a score of 2; and ‘high’ with a score of 3. A score of 0 is assigned if the disease has no potential to influence public health policy. For instance, a score of 0 was assigned to yellow fever, cholera, malaria and leprosy. The highest score of three was awarded to HIV, AIDS, laboratory-confirmed influenza, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and C, CJD, invasive pneumococcal disease and salmonello- sis.
Risk perception is defined as the current level of concern of the general population or the media, or the disease’s potential to invoke a crisis. The assignment of scores is based on subcommittee members’ experience and the population’s perception of the problem. It includes the consideration of the following factors: immediate versus delayed effects of the infection; dreaded versus familiar disease; the mechanism of disease is not known or understood; involuntary children at risk; identifiable victims; lack of belief in authority of the information source; and the degree of media attention. This criterion is classified into three groups: ‘low’ with a score of 1, ‘moderate’ with a score of 3 and ‘high’ with a score of 5. HIV, AIDS, rabies, invasive meningococcal disease, and invasive group A streptococcal disease were each assigned a score of 5.
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APPEARING TO OR CHANGING PATTERNS OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS
The criterion, ‘appearing to or changing patterns over the past five years’, is classified into three groups. A score of 0 indicates that the disease has been stable over the five-year period. A score of 1 is assigned to diseases that exhibited ‘slow changes’, a score of three is assigned to diseases with ‘moderate changes over time’, and a score of 5 is assigned to diseases that have shown ‘dramatic changes’. No disease was assigned a score of 5. A score of 3 was assigned to HIV, AIDS, laboratory-confirmed influenza, tuberculosis, measles, pertussis, hepatitis C, invasive pneumococcal disease, salmonel- losis, hepatitis A, cryptosporidiosis, cyclosporiasis and malaria.