Korea Biomedical Review: The Essential Nature of Biosurveillance

The Korea Biomedical Review met recently with Professor Jennifer B. Nuzzo of Johns Hopkins University during Biosurveillance Symposium 2019 to discuss what biosurveillance is, how the U.S. has been conducting such activities, and how Korea should proceed with enhancing its own biosurveillance system.

Professor Nuzzo is an expert in biosurveillance, who has been involved with various advisory committees organized by the U.S. government and Congress to improve a biological surveillance systems.

“Biosurveillance is important as we live in a world where we are likely to experience a public health crisis. Infectious diseases are on the rise, and they are easy to spread across the globe as technology develops,” noted Nuzzo. “Biosurveillance allows us to gather information about where and what is happening and respond quickly.”

Q: Do you have any advice for Korea regarding its effort to build a biosurveillance system?

A: If data integration is the Korean government’s goal, Korea should first pick one area and experience integration. This is because if you aim too big at the beginning, it may be overwhelming and unclear what the priorities are. My recommendation is to start with infectious diseases that come from food-borne pathogens as the field is economically influential, while various government agencies are affected.

Read the full interview at Korea Biomedical Review


Implementation System of a Biosurveillance System in the Republic of Korea and Its Legal Ramifications

Amanda J. Kim and Sangwoo Tak. Health Security. Online Ahead of Print:December 3, 2019

This study assesses the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Act of Korea (IDCPA) to understand the current infectious disease surveillance system of the ROK in terms of its utility for biosurveillance. The IDCPA of the ROK does not include provisions essential for transitioning the current surveillance system to biosurveillance, nor guidance for early detection and response using integrated data and information-sharing systems. Revision of the IDCPA is thus critical not only in terms of infectious diseases but also bioterrorism.

Complementing Conventional Infectious Disease Surveillance with National Health Insurance Claims Data in the Republic of Korea

Jung J, Im JH, Ko YJ, Huh K, Yoon CG, Rhee C, Kim YE, Go DS, Kim A, Jung Y, Radnaabaatar M, Yoon SJ. Complementing conventional infectious disease surveillance with national health insurance claims data in the Republic of Korea. Sci Rep. June 9, 2019

In the Republic of Korea (ROK), the 2015 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection outbreak demonstrated the failure of national surveillance systems in detecting the outbreak in early phases to warn the public. The government enhanced human resources and financial support for strengthened surveillance, with recognition of the importance of vigilant disease surveillance systems.This study aimed to evaluate the National Health Insurance Claims-based Surveillance (NHICS) compared to conventional passive report-based National Infectious Diseases Surveillance (NIDS).

Taiwan’s Annual Seasonal Influenza Mass Vaccination Program—Lessons for Pandemic Planning

Diane Meyer MPH, Matthew P. Shearer MPH, Yi-Chien Chih MSc, Yu-Chen Hsu MSc, Yung-Ching Lin MD, MPH, and Jennifer B. Nuzzo DrPH.Diane Meyer, Matthew P. Shearer, Yi-Chien Chih, Yu-Chen Hsu, Yung-Ching Lin, Jennifer B. Nuzzo, “Taiwan’s Annual Seasonal Influenza Mass Vaccination Program—Lessons for Pandemic Planning”, American Journal of Public Health 108, no. S3 September 1, 2018

In Taiwan, seasonal influenza mass vaccination campaigns are conducted annually, which both mitigate the effects of seasonal influenza and serve as functional exercises for mass vaccination operations during a pandemic. To identify lessons that can be applied to emergency MCM dispensing, we conducted an analysis of seasonal influenza mass vaccination efforts in Taiwan. We conducted this analysis through a literature review, targeted interviews with local- and national-level public health and preparedness officials in Taiwan, and site visits to observe local mass vaccination events. We utilized additional data from the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) on vaccine purchases and coverage for priority groups to further assess the impact of the mass vaccination program and elucidate lessons that could benefit similar future efforts in the United States and elsewhere.

Edited by S. Lizotte

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