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Meningococcal Disease in Maine Well-Reported

Timeliness of reporting remains suboptimal

TUESDAY, Mar. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The reporting of meningococcal disease cases in the state of Maine reached the 98 percent level between 2001 and 2006, but only 56 percent of cases were reported within a day of admission to hospital, according to a report published in the Feb. 27 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

V. Rea, of the University of Southern Maine in Portland, and colleagues report how they compared meningococcal disease public health surveillance data from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2006 and hospital discharge data from the Maine Health Data Organization to assess compliance with state law requiring immediate notification of the disease.

There were 52 cases of meningococcal disease reported to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, 107 cases found in the Maine Health Data Organization data and 42 cases in both sets with verified meningococcal disease, the researchers report. Among the 65 patients who were identified in the hospital discharge data but not reported to the state health department, 56 patients did not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of meningococcal disease, while nine did, including eight patients from other states, the investigators found.

"Evaluation of surveillance efforts should be repeated periodically to determine whether completeness of reporting remains high and timeliness improves," the authors write.

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