Veterinary syndromic surveillance : current initiatives and potential for development

Dórea, Fernanda C. and Sanchez, Javier and Revie, Crawford W. (2011) Veterinary syndromic surveillance : current initiatives and potential for development. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 101 (1-2). pp. 1-17. ISSN 0167-5877 (

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This paper reviews recent progress in the development of syndromic surveillance systems for veterinary medicine. Peer-reviewed and grey literature were searched in order to identify surveillance systems that explicitly address outbreak detection based on systematic monitoring of animal population data, in any phase of implementation. The review found that developments in veterinary syndromic surveillance are focused not only on animal health, but also on the use of animals as sentinels for public health, representing a further step towards One Medicine. The main sources of information are clinical data from practitioners and laboratory data, but a number of other sources are being explored. Due to limitations inherent in the way data on animal health is collected, the development of veterinary syndromic surveillance initially focused on animal health data collection strategies, analyzing historical data for their potential to support systematic monitoring, or solving problems of data classification and integration. Systems based on passive notification or data transfers are now dealing with sustainability issues. Given the ongoing barriers in availability of data, diagnostic laboratories appear to provide the most readily available data sources for syndromic surveillance in animal health. As the bottlenecks around data source availability are overcome, the next challenge is consolidating data standards for data classification, promoting the integration of different animal health surveillance systems, and also the integration to public health surveillance. Moreover, the outputs of systems for systematic monitoring of animal health data must be directly connected to real-time decision support systems which are increasingly being used for disease management and control.