Evaluation of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System for Dengue Fever in Taiwan, 2010–2012

Caoimhe McKerr, Yi Chun Lo*, Obaghe Edeghere, Sam Bracebridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In Taiwan, around 1,500 cases of dengue fever are reported annually and incidence has been increasing over time. A national web-based Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NDSS) has been in operation since 1997 to monitor incidence and trends and support case and outbreak management. We present the findings of an evaluation of the NDSS to ascertain the extent to which dengue fever surveillance objectives are being achieved. We extracted the NDSS data on all laboratory-confirmed dengue fever cases reported during 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012 to assess and describe key system attributes based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance evaluation guidelines. The system’s structure and processes were delineated and operational staff interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Crude and age-adjusted incidence rates were calculated and key demographic variables were summarised to describe reporting activity. Data completeness and validity were described across several variables. Of 5,072 laboratory-confirmed dengue fever cases reported during 2010–2012, 4,740 (93%) were reported during July to December. The system was judged to be simple due to its minimal reporting steps. Data collected on key variables were correctly formatted and usable in > 90% of cases, demonstrating good data completeness and validity. The information collected was considered relevant by users with high acceptability. Adherence to guidelines for 24-hour reporting was 99%. Of 720 cases (14%) recorded as travel-related, 111 (15%) had an onset >14 days after return, highlighting the potential for misclassification. Information on hospitalization was missing for 22% of cases. The calculated PVP was 43%. The NDSS for dengue fever surveillance is a robust, well maintained and acceptable system that supports the collection of complete and valid data needed to achieve the surveillance objectives. The simplicity of the system engenders compliance leading to timely and accurate reporting. Completeness of hospitalization information could be further improved to allow assessment of severity of illness. To minimize misclassification, an algorithm to accurately classify travel cases should be established.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0003639
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2015

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© 2015 McKerr et al.


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