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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
September 22/29, 2010

Launching a National Surveillance System After an Earthquake—Haiti, 2010

JAMA. 2010;304(12):1318-1320. doi:

MMWR. 2010;59:933-938

2 figures, 1 table omitted

On January 12, 2010, Haiti experienced a magnitude-7.0 earthquake; Haitian government officials estimated that 230,000 persons died and 300,000 were injured. At the time, Haiti had no system capable of providing timely surveillance on a wide range of health conditions. Within 2 weeks, Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), CDC, and other national and international agencies launched the National Sentinel Site Surveillance (NSSS) System. The objectives were to monitor disease trends, detect outbreaks, and characterize the affected population to target relief efforts. Fifty-one hospital and clinic surveillance sites affiliated with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) were selected to report daily counts by e-mail or telephone for 25 specified reportable conditions. During January 25–April 24, 2010, a total of 42,361 persons had a reportable condition; of these, 54.5% were female, and 32.6% were aged <5 years. Nationally, the three most frequently reported specified conditions were acute respiratory infection (ARI) (16.3%), suspected malaria (10.3%), and fever of unknown cause (10.0%). Injuries accounted for 12.0% of reported conditions. No epidemics or disease clusters were detected. The number of reports decreased over time. NSSS is ongoing and currently transitioning into becoming a long-term national surveillance system for Haiti. NSSS data could assist decision makers in allocation of resources and identifying effective public health interventions. However, data reporting and quality could be improved by additional surveillance education for health-care providers, laboratory confirmation of cases of disease, and Internet-based weekly reporting.