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China Officials Explore Georgia’s Infectious Disease Surveillance Systems

September 3, 2013

Originally published July 11, 2011

On the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) first day as a new agency, staff from the Infectious Disease and Immunization program welcomed public health officials from China to learn about the Department’s Infectious Disease Surveillance and Prevention system. The Georgia Council for International Visitors (GCIV) asked DPH to arrange a visit for participants from China’s Ministry of Health & Disease Control Departments, who are traveling around the country to learn the latest U.S. practices in disease prevention, education and treatment and to gain an understanding of how public and private agencies manage health issues. 

“Georgia has a sophisticated disease surveillance system that utilizes the latest electronic reporting systems and allows us to analyze, interpret and disseminate critical surveillance data,” said Dr. Anil T. Mangla, Director of Infectious Disease and Immunizations and the acting State Epidemiologist. “We are proud to share our accomplishments with our international colleagues and to serve as a model for other public health programs around the globe.” 

Dr. Mangla delivered an overview of the state’s epidemiology and infectious disease programs, while Dr. Jianglan White, Director of the Department’s HIV/AIDS Epidemiology program, provided information on HIV/AIDS surveillance in Georgia. Linda Allen-Johnson, program manager for the EPI/STD Surveillance Section, described the state’s efforts in STD surveillance. Carol Hadley, Strategic Planning and Development Manager, worked with GCIV to coordinate the meetings and serve as a host. 

The Infectious Disease and Immunization program has played host to several international guests over the past few years, including delegations from South America, Africa and Russia. The visits are arranged each year by GCIV, a non-profit organization that administers the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. 

In addition to DPH’s core HIV/AIDS surveillance, the Department also has an Enhanced Prenatal Surveillance System that monitors and tracks infants who are perinatally exposed to HIV and follows-up to 18 months or until their HIV status is determined. The state also utilizes two supplemental surveillance systems including the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS), which studies and monitors the prevalence of high risk behaviors, testing behaviors, and the use of prevention services within top at-risk populations. Additionally, Georgia participates in the Morbidity Monitoring Project (MMP), which monitors and assesses clinical outcomes and the health care-related experience of patients who are receiving care from randomly selected HIV care providers.
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The state has also made great strides in its STD surveillance, migrating from a DOS-based management information system in January to a new web-based system, resulting in an increased volume of laboratory reports, standardization, quicker reporting and a secure and confidential way to transmit information. Georgia is also one of only five states to create a state NEDSS (National Electronic Disease Surveillance System) system, an internet-based infrastructure for public health surveillance data exchange.