Completeness of statutory notification for acute bacterial meningitis.
Goldacre MJ., Miller DL.
Several different sources of data, including statutory notifications, were used to identify cases of acute bacterial meningitis in childhood in a defined population. Only half the cases of meningococcal meningitis and less than one quarter of ofther types of bacterial meningitis had been notified. Notified cases differed from the remainder with respect to causative organism, age, outcome, and type of hospital of admission. Thus notifications are an unreliable measure of incidence for this disease, and studies of infectious disease based on notified cases alone should be interpreted with considerable reserve. It is suggested that infectious-disease surveillance should be both clinical and microbiological and that data from different sources need to co-ordinated. The reason for reporting each disease (or organism) should be specified and and reviewed periodically.