Infectious diseases are a long-standing and continuing threat to health and welfare, with their containment dependent on national disease surveillance and response capacities. This article discusses infectious disease surveillance in the United States and the United Kingdom, examining historical national traditions for identifying and controlling infectious disease risks and how globalization and technical advances have influenced the evolution of their respective approaches. The two systems developed in different but parallel ways. In the United States, surveillance remained quite localized at the state level until the early twentieth century and still retains many of those features. The U.K. approach became centralized from the latter part of the nineteenth century and has principally remained so. In both cases, disease surveillance was traditionally conceived as a public good, where national or local authorities held sovereign rights and power to protect public health. With the increasing globalized nature of infectious disease, such notions shifted toward surveillance as a global public good, with countries responding in turn by creating new global health governance arrangements and regulations. However, the limitations of current surveillance systems and the strong hold of national interests place into question the provision of surveillance as a global public good. These issues are further highlighted with the introduction of new surveillance technologies, which offer opportunities for improved disease detection and identification but also create potential tensions between individual rights, corporate profit, equitable access to technology, and national and global public goods.

This content is only available as a PDF.

References

References
Aginam, O.
2003
.
The Nineteenth Century Colonial Fingerprints on Public Health Diplomacy: A Postcolonial View
.
Law, Social Justice, and Global Development
5
(
1
). www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/2003_1/aginam/
(accessed June 2, 2010)
.
Anderson, R. M.; May, R. M..
1991
.
Infectious Diseases of Humans: Dynamics and Control
.
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
.
Barnett, T.
1978
.
Gezira and Zande: The Success and Failure of Two Cotton Enterprises in the Sudan
.
Discussion Paper no. 33
.
School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia
,
U.K.
———.
2005
.
A Fragile Web
.
Nature Medicine
11
:
5
15
.
Barnett, T.; Whiteside, A..
2006
.
AIDS in the Twenty-first Century: Disease and Globalization
.
Basingstoke, U.K.
:
Palgrave Macmillan
.
Bayer, R.
2007
.
The Continuous Tensions between Individual Rights and Public Health
.
European Molecular Biology Organization Journal
8
:
1099
1103
.
Brownstein, J. S.; Freifeld, C. C.; Chan, E. H.; Keller, M.; Sonricker, A. L.; Mekaru, S. R.; Buckeridge, D. L..
2010
.
Information Technology and Global Surveillance of Cases of 2009 H1N1 Influenza
.
New England Journal of Medicine
362
:
1731
1735
.
Burns, A.; van der Menbrugghe, D.; Timmer, H..
2008
.
Evaluating the Economic Consequences of Avian Influenza
.
Washington, DC
:
World Bank
.
Cliff, A.; Hagget, P..
2004
.
Time, Travel, and Infection
.
British Medical Bulletin
69
:
87
99
.
Cohen, J.
2008
.
The New World of Global Health
.
Science
311
:
162
167
.
Colgrove, J.; Bayer, R..
2005
.
Manifold Restraints: Liberty, Public Health, and the Legacy of Jacobson v Massachusetts
.
American Journal of Public Health
95
:
571
576
.
Department for International Development (DFID)
.
2004
.
Taking Action: The UK's Strategy for Tackling HIV and AIDS in the Developing World
.
London
:
DFID
.
Department of Health
.
2008
.
Health Is Global: A UK Government Strategy 2008 – 13
.
London
:
Department of Health
.
Dodgson, R.; Lee, K.; Drager, N..
2002
.
Global Health Governance: A Conceptual Review
.
London
:
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organization
.
England, R.
2007
.
The Dangers of Disease Specific Programmes for Developing Countries
.
BMJ
335
:
565
.
Fairchild, A. L.; Bayer, R.; Colgrove, J..
2007
.
Searching Eyes: Privacy and the State and Disease Surveillance in America
.
Berkeley
:
University of California Press
.
———.
2008
.
Privacy, Democracy, and the Politics of Disease Surveillance
.
Public Health Ethics
1
:
30
38
.
Faust, D. G.
2008
.
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
.
New York
:
Knopf
.
Fidler, D.
2004
.
SARS, Governance, and the Globalization of Disease
.
London
:
Palgrave Macmillan
.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
.
2009
.
The State of Food and Agriculture
.
Rome
:
FAO
.
Freifeld, C. C.; Mandl, K. D.; Reis, B. Y.; Brownstein, J. S..
2008
.
HealthMap: Global Infectious Disease Monitoring through Automated Classification and Visualization of Internet Media Reports
.
Journal of American Medical Informatics Association
15
:
150
157
.
Garrett, L.
2009
.
Global Health Crisis: Swine Flu
.
Transcript, Council on Foreign Relations
,
New York
,
April
27
.
Ginsberg, J.; Mohebbi, M. H.; Patel, R. S.; Brammer, L.; Smolinski, M. S.; Brilliant, L..
2009
.
Detecting Influenza Epidemics Using Search Engine Query Data
.
Nature Medicine
457
:
1012
1014
.
Gostin, L.; Mok, E..
2009
.
Grand Challenges in Global Health Governance
.
British Medical Bulletin
,
doi:10.1093/bmb/ldp014
.
Greer, S. L.
2004
.
Four Way Bet: How Devolution Has Led to Four Different Models for the NHS
.
London
:
Constitution Unit, University College London
.
———.
2006
.
The Fragile Divergence Machine: Citizenship, Health Policy, and Devolution
. In
Intergovernmental Relations in the United Kingdom
, ed. Trench, A.,
136
159
.
Manchester
:
Manchester University Press
.
Hobsbawm, E.
1994
.
Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914 – 1991
.
London
:
Abacus
.
Holland, W. W.; Stewart, S..
1998
.
Public Health: The Vision and the Challenge
.
London
:
Nuffield Trust
.
Hoppe, K. A.
2003
.
Lords of the Fly: Sleeping Sickness Control in British East Africa, 1900 – 1960
.
Westport, CT
:
Praeger
.
Institute of Medicine (IOM)
.
1997
.
America's Vital Interest in Global Health: Protecting Our People, Enhancing Our Economy, and Advancing Our National Interests
.
Washington, DC
:
National Academy Press
.
———.
2008
.
The U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the New Administration
.
Washington, DC
:
National Academy Press
.
———.
2009
.
Sustaining Global Surveillance and Responses to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases
.
Washington, DC
:
National Academy Press
.
Jones, K. E.; Patel, N. G.; Levy, M. A.; Storeygard, A.; Balk, D.; Gittleman, J. L.; Daszak, P..
2007
.
Global Trends in Emerging Infectious Diseases
.
Nature
451
:
990
993
.
Kaul, I.; Grunberg, I.; Stern, M. A., eds.
1999
.
Global Public Goods: International Cooperation in the Twenty-first Century
.
New York
:
Oxford University Press
.
McColl, K.
2008
.
Europe Told to Deliver More Aid for Health
.
Lancet
371
:
2072
2073
.
McCoy, D.; Chand, S.; Sridhar, D..
2009
.
Global Health Funding: How Much, Where It Comes From, and Where It Goes
.
Health Policy and Planning
24
:
407
417
.
National Intelligence Council (NIC)
.
2000
.
The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States
.
Washington, DC
:
NIC
.
Polgreen, P. M.; Chen, Y.; Pennock, D. M.; Nelson, F. D..
2008
.
Using Internet Searches for Influenza Surveillance
.
Clinical Infectious Disease
47
:
1143
1148
.
Porter, D.
1994
.
The History of Public Health and the Modern State
.
Atlanta, GA
:
Editions Rodopi
.
Reining, C. C.
1966
.
The Zande Scheme: An Anthropological Case Study of Economic Development in Africa
.
Evanston, IL
:
Northwestern University Press
.
Ruger, J. P.
2007
.
Global Health Governance and the World Bank
.
Lancet
370
:
1471
1474
.
Samuelson, P. A.
1954
.
The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure
.
Review of Economics and Statistics
36
:
387
389
.
Slingenbergh, J. I.; Gilbert, M.; de Balogh, K. I.; Wint, W..
2004
.
Ecological Sources of Zoonotic Diseases
.
Revue scientifique et technique
23
:
467
484
.
Smith, R.; Beaglehole, R.; Woodword, D.; Drager, N., eds.
2003
.
Global Public Goods for Health: Health Economic and Public Health Perspectives
.
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
.
Smith, R.; Keogh-Brown, M. R.; Barnett, T.; Tait, J..
2009
.
The Economy-Wide Impact of Pandemic Influenza on the UK: A Computable General Equilibrium Modelling Experiment
.
BMJ
339
:
b4571
.
Smith, R. D.; MacKellar, L..
2007
.
Global Public Goods and the Global Health Agenda: Problems, Priorities, and Potential
.
Global Health
3
:
9
,
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-3-9
.
Sridhar, D.
2009
.
Post-Accra: Is There Space for Country Ownership in Global Health?
Third World Quarterly
30
:
1363
1377
.
Steinhardt, B.
1999
.
Emerging Infectious Diseases: National Surveillance System Could Be Strengthened
.
Testimony before the Subcommittee on Public Health, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U.S. Senate
.
Washington, DC
:
GAO
.
United Nations, Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNPD)
.
2007
.
World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision
. www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wup2007/2007WUP_Highlights_web.pdf
(accessed November 16, 2010)
.
Williams, R. E. O.
1986
.
Microbiology for the Public Health: The Evolution of the Public Health Laboratory Service
.
Colindale, U.K.
:
Public Health Laboratory Service Publications
.