Re-emerging Infectious Disease (RED) Alert tool


Definitions of “re-emerging infectious diseases” typically encompass any disease occurrence that was a historic public health threat, declined dramatically, and has since presented itself again as a significant health problem. Examples include antimicrobial resistance leading to resurgence of tuberculosis, or measles re-appearing in previously protected communities. While the language of this verbal definition of “re-emergence” is sensitive enough to capture most epidemiologically relevant resurgences, its qualitative nature obfuscates the ability to quantitatively classify disease re-emergence events as such.


Although relying on verbal definitions of "re-emergence", descriptions that classify a “re-emergence” event as any significant recurrence of a disease that had previously been under public health control, and subjective interpretations of these events is currently the conventional practice, this has the potential to hinder effective public health responses. Defining re-emergence in this manner offers limited ability for ad hoc analysis of prevention and control measures and facilitates non-reproducible assessments of public health events of potentially high consequence. Re-emerging infectious disease alert (RED Alert) is a decision-support tool designed to address this issue by enhancing situational awareness by providing spatiotemporal context through disease incidence pattern analysis following an event that may represent a local (country-level) re-emergence. The tool’s analytics also provide users with the associated causes (socioeconomic indicators) related to the event, and guide hypothesis-generation regarding the global scenario.

Primary Topic Areas: 
Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2018

January 25, 2018

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National Syndromic
Surveillance Program

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is a collaboration among states and public health jurisdictions that contribute data to the BioSense Platform, public health practitioners who use local syndromic surveillance systems, Center for Disease Control and Prevention programs, other federal agencies, partner organizations, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and academic institutions.

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