Passive Surveillance

Passive Surveillance

Has the focus on disease prevention and health promotion shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases? Why or why not?

A chronic disease is not the one that lasts for more than three months and cannot be cured by medication or prevented through vaccination nor does it just disappear. Chronic diseases in the United States have been the greatest contributors to increased deaths from cancer, heart attack and other major chronic diseases have increased. The focus of disease prevention and health promotion has shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases because they are the greatest contributors to mortality rate. The chronic diseases have become the most expensive condition to maintain in the health sector consuming the greatest sector of the health budget in the United Stated health sector. According to Kennamer (2007), Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. In 2012 about half of the adult population in the United States that is approximately 117 million people had one or more chronic conditions according to a report by World Health Assembly (2006) one in every two adults had two or more health conditions. In the analysis done by WHO the seven out of the ten causes of death in 2004 were chronic conditions. Cancer and heart conditions accounted for 46% of all the death in the United States (Kennamer, 2007). This, therefore, led to the need to switch and direct the resources to try and create aware

Will a diversion in focus from infectious to chronic diseases leave the United States and other parts of the world at greater risk for pandemics or bioterrorism? Why or why not?

The diversion from infectious diseases could have a major effect on the spread of pandemics and bioterrorism. This is because the chronic diseases and the have taken a greater subset of the health budget and therefore leaving the other conditions unchartered for. The focus of the eyes of the nation has also shifted on chronic conditions as the conditions have had dangerous effects on their family and friends. The terrorists could take advantage of the shift of the resources and the attention of the health sector and the allocation of the health budget to effectively pushing for their strategies and therefore having an easy way through the peoples. This also means that the research and development that was previously directed to bioterrorism and pandemics have not been developed or rather are not active and therefore this means that there are no strategies developed to deal with situations once they arise and therefore puts the nation at risk.

How do risk factors and prevention strategies differ from infectious and chronic diseases?

The chronic conditions are not treatable and can only be managed, and therefore the strongest and the most important prevention strategy is the creation of awareness and pushing people towards adoption of strategies that reduce spread of the chronic conditions. The infectious diseases can be controlled through quarantine and secretion of the infected people and therefore spreading the spread of the disease, unlike the chronic conditions where they cannot be transferred to other patients through contact. This, therefore, makes infectious diseases predictable and controllable through physical mean and therefore making them easily manageable.

When thinking about chronic diseases, how do you perceive the purpose and utility of passive surveillance as an epidemiological tool? Explain with an example of a chronic disease surveillance system. Would you advocate the reporting of select chronic conditions? Why? Give reasons for your answer.

The utility of passive surveillance as an epidemiology tool cannot be effective as the disease is not transferred from one person to another through physical means. This also is not effective as it captures the data of the patients that have been affected by the condition and the trend regarding the locations here it is mostly registered. The surveillance can also not provide the effective ways to control the disease and therefore not to be fully conclusive or having a full coverage on the chronic diseases. For example collecting data of the patients that are affected by cancer in a certain location can only present us with the numbers but does not go further or give the preventive measures that can be implemented or the situation that acts as predisposing factors towards the condition and therefore not being an effective way to handle the condition.


Kennamer, M. (2007). Basic diseases control for health care providers. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

World Health Assembly. (2006). International health regulations (2005). Geneva: World Health Organization.



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