Ascertainment of meningococcal disease in Europe

CL Trotter, S Samuelsson, A Perrocheau, S de Greeff, H de Melker, S Heuberger, ME Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Meningococcal disease surveillance in most countries is based upon a combination of statutory notification systems and laboratory reporting, both of which are recognised to under-estimate the true burden of disease. The incidence of meningococcal disease varies throughout Europe and although there are many reasons for this it is important to quantify the degree of under-ascertainment in order to validate international comparisons. Here, we review the literature on the ascertainment of meningococcal disease in Europe and the available methods for estimating the degree of under-reporting. We found that the sensitivity of surveillance varies between countries and over time, with estimates ranging from 40% to 96%. We identified 5 methods suitable for conducting ascertainment studies, from simple comparative studies to more complicated capture-recapture and regression analyses. Studies of ascertainment may be used to identify weaknesses and biases in surveillance data, and facilitate the improvement of these systems. These findings are relevant to the surveillance of other infectious diseases, particularly those with lower mortality and a lower public profile than meningococcal disease, for which ascertainment may be worse.
Translated title of the contributionAscertainment of meningococcal disease in Europe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247 - 250
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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