Novel Surveillance Systems: Good Value for the Money Spent?

School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley


“Syndromic surveillance” (surveillance for clinical syndromes without or before a definitive diagnosis can be or is made) as established and being utilized in various locations in the United States since 2001 to facilitate earlier detection and/or more targeted responses to outbreaks of disease is of unproven benefit. It is time to subject syndromic surveillance to rigorous evaluation to determine whether it provides benefits to public health or national security. if its benefits to public health and society cannot be documented, the federal resources currently devoted to it should be redirected to other disease surveillance approaches of proven worth.