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CDC Compares Hep C Infection Surveillance Systems' Accuracy

Adoption of superior Emerging Infections Program nationwide could cut HCV morbidity and mortality

FRIDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) used to track hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is not as complete or as timely as the enhanced surveillance of the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) used in some states, according to a report published Nov. 5 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC researchers compared the 2008 HCV surveillance data from the NNDSS to the more extensive EIP, which collects clinical, demographic, and risk factor information, such as sexual activity, blood transfusions, and tattoos.

The researchers found that 26 of 120 case reports in the EIP system were missing from NNDSS. Data on race and major HCV risk factors were missing from 22 and 60 percent of NNDSS reports, respectively, while such data were missing in 8 and 25 percent of the EIP reports, respectively. The NNDSS also took 30 days to report HCV diagnoses, compared to 19 days for EIP.

"Based on the findings described in this report, additional resources for acute hepatitis C surveillance could enhance substantially the quality of the data on which prevention interventions are based, and in turn, could reduce morbidity and mortality associated with HCV infection. Nonetheless, a cost-benefit analysis to assess the usefulness of implementing EIP enhanced surveillance for acute hepatitis C at the national level is needed," the authors write.

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