Detection of infectious disease outbreaks in twenty-two fragile states, 2000-2010: a systematic review


Fragile states are home to a sixth of the world's population, and their populations are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks. Timely surveillance and control are essential to minimise the impact of these outbreaks, but little evidence is published about the effectiveness of existing surveillance systems. We did a systematic review of the circumstances (mode) of detection of outbreaks occurring in 22 fragile states in the decade 2000-2010 (i.e. all states consistently meeting fragility criteria during the timeframe of the review), as well as time lags from onset to detection of these outbreaks, and from detection to further events in their timeline. The aim of this review was to enhance the evidence base for implementing infectious disease surveillance in these complex, resource-constrained settings, and to assess the relative importance of different routes whereby outbreak detection occurs.