Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989
An information and epidemiological surveillance system for Venezuelan equine encephalitis in the Region of the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.2, pp.128-138. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999000700015.
It is difficult to collect precise data on every epizootic and to document the direct and indirect effects of each one. This situation makes it impossible to assess the damage that Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) causes in the Region of the Americas, as well as to identify new encephalitis strains, wild reservoirs, types of vectors in each enzootic cycle, and the period of immunity that the TC-83 vaccine provides. This all shows that, in order to improve prevention and control activities, it is essential to have a standard information and epidemiological surveillance system that involves the official public health and animal health services. This text describes general aspects of VEE and the epidemiological features to consider in order to increase the predictive ability of epidemiological surveillance programs and to reduce the negative socioeconomic effects of the disease. The piece also describes laboratory diagnostic procedures to confirm suspected encephalitis cases. Finally, the text describes the characteristics and structure of an information system that will generate useful data to investigate enzootic foci and areas at risk, make forecasts on outbreaks and epidemics, detect encephalitides quickly, and guide prevention and control measures.