Public Health Surveillance

Public Health Surveillance during a Disaster

To prevent the natural history of disease we need to adopt a three-level prevention tactic that is primary, secondary as well as tertiary prevention. For instance, in public health surveillance for the case of a disaster we shall consider these prevention strategies:

Primary prevention

It is a measure whose objective is to target individual at the susceptible stage. Primarily it aims at identifying activities that can lead to exposure by formulating of a reduction effect to the health determinant (Burstein, Keyes, Schwartz & Swienton, 2005). For example, in public health surveillance in case of disaster, it allows detection of prospected diseases outbreaks as well as to track conditions and any injury trend. In this scenario, public health surveillance ensures that likelihood of outbreaks is mitigated through initial detection as well as response.

Secondary prevention

It looks into the sub-clinical stage as well as the early clinical stage to identify an effective intervention that can correct origination of health status (Burstein et al., 2005). For example, in a public surveillance health with regards to disaster conducting health surveillance makes it easy to make an informed decision on actions like targeting interventions with the aim of meeting unique needs, resource allocation as well as future planning for disaster response.

Tertiary prevention

They are mostly executed at the disability or recovery or death stage. However, they are sometimes applied at the clinical stage. Their function is to minimize suffering, eliminate impairment or disability, in the long run, adjusting attributes that limit health, optimize services and extend survival. It can be adopted as a rehabilitation plan (Burstein et al., 2005). For example, in public health surveillance, the Disaster Surveillance Workgroup (DSWP) puts together expertise from the different level of Center for Disease Control (CDC) that set standards to enable data collections reporting and sharing in case of the public health disaster. Further, there is a development of morbidity as well as mortality surveillance approaches together with training tools.


Burstein, J. L., Keyes, D. C., Schwartz, R. B., & Swienton, R. E. (2005). Medical response to terrorism: Preparedness and clinical practice.

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