New England Public Health Training Center

Surveillance of Infectious Diseases

This is an all levels course offering CPH and RS — Free
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Time to Start

< 3 minutes


1.00 hour


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Disease surveillance refers to the ongoing and systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health-related data essential to public health practice. Disease surveillance is an essential component of any public health system and is used to monitor disease trends over time, detect disease outbreaks, prevent further spread of disease, and increase our knowledge of risk factors contributing to disease development. Public health agencies at the federal, state, and local levels are all involved in disease surveillance and are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating public health interventions when certain diseases are detected. This training describes the importance of disease surveillance and outlines the state and local responsibilities for infectious diseases.

This learning opportunity topic is aligned with one or more of the strategic skills.  

This learning opportunity addresses training topics identified in PHWINS 2017. 

What You'll Learn

  • Define disease surveillance and infectious disease epidemiology
  • Explain what surveillance data is used for and the different types of disease surveillance
  • Describe the Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiological Network (MAVEN) and the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS)
  • Detail the infectious disease reporting responsibilities of local public health (LPH) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH)
  • Summarize the purposes of the Massachusetts state laws and regulations related to disease surveillance
  • Explain what a case definition is and the differences among confirmed, probable, and suspect cases

Competency Terms

Assessment (surveillance and epidemiology)

Related Occupations

Department/Bureau Director
Health Educator
Public health - multiple occupations will benefit

Related Job Tasks

Assess and monitor population health status, factors that influence health, and community needs and assets
Investigate, diagnose, and address health problems and hazards affecting the population