The PPHSN Pacific Syndromic Surveillance System (PSSS) was created as an early warning tool for the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network.
In 2010, focal points of the International Health Regulations (IHR) together with PPHSN EpiNet representatives from the Pacific island countries (PICs) formed the PSSS. As a early warning tool, the PSSS becomes part of the WHO emergency surveillance and response (ESR) program that assists countries with strengthening infectious disease surveillance and response systems. The program includes providing technical advice, training, and equipment.
ObjectivesThe PSSS collects, collates and reports surveillance data from twenty-three (23) PICs. Its main objective is to strengthen local outbreak response capacity, closely linked to PSSS alerts.
Consult the weekly PSSS reports
Recent DevelopmentsThe following set of actions for the PSSS by PICs since 2010 has allowed for an improved monitoring of indicator infectious disease trends, local epidemics and spreading pandemics:
Syndromic Surveillance Data Sources in the Pacific
The PSSS uses existing health systems voluntary participation and cooperation in surveillance in order to provide early warnings of emerging health conditions for the PICs. In surveillance, a syndrome is a set of non-specific pre-diagnosis medical and other information that may indicate a disease outbreak. Syndromic surveillance thus focuses on early event detection: gathering and analyzing data in advance of diagnostic case confirmation to give early warning of a possible outbreak. Such early event detection is not supposed to provide a definitive determination that an outbreak is occurring. Rather, it is supposed to signal that an outbreak may be occurring, indicating a need for further evidence or triggering an investigation by public health officials.
More recently, syndromic surveillance has been expanded to include using ‘existing health data in real time to provide immediate analysis and feedback to those charged with investigation and follow-up of potential outbreaks.’ Moreover, a broader focus on electronic surveillance enables inclusion both early event detection and situational awareness.
Syndromic surveillance in the PSSS is based on data that can come from the following sources:
Table 1. EWARS indicator syndromes, case definitions and alert thresholds
Alert thresholds (see Table 1) The alert thresholds have been automated and are set in EWARS. Instant email notification is sent once a country has surpassed the alert threshold.
For the additional Indicator diseases below:
Report any suspicious condition or event urgently in Event Based form
Snapshot of EWARS – Report Manager
More information on EWARS: Structure and functions, management, Sentinel Sites by Country, Global EWARS and PSSS, Algorithm for Infectious Disease Outbreak Investigation, Completeness of Reporting and Utilization of Data, EWARS Reported Data 2016-2021, Human Resource, Tools for the EWARS, Evaluation of a Public Health Surveillance System, Data and Alert Utilization,
Creation of the PSSS: Meeting for the Pacific IHR National Focal Points and PPHSN-EpiNet Representatives on Syndromic Surveillance, Auckland, New Zealand, 23–26 March 2010→ Final meeting report
First practical Guide for Implementing Syndromic Surveillance in Pacific Island countries and territories, developed by WHO, SPC and PPHSN members and partners in 2010→ in word format (499 KB)