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WP 4: Enhanced surveillance during international mass gathering

In last 15 years the number of international mass gatherings has increased. At the beginning people were gathering to watch sport events like Olympics, Worlds Championships and watching Championship in Ski Jumping (World Cup). In last few years to that list were added other types of gatherings, like for social or religious reasons e.g. Music Festivals, Worlds Youth Day and the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
A large number of people from different countries gathered in one place in given time may increase the possibility of different health hazards including transmission of infectious diseases.

The aim of this work package was to present and synthesize the experience of previous international mass gathering preparation and reaction of surveillance systems in various countries. Based on gathered information develop a standardized instrument for infectious disease surveillance purposes and a training module were prepared.

Work Plan

In a first step a systematic literature review of available evidence of epidemiological threats related to infectious diseases transmission and used methods and tools to detect cases or outbreaks in epidemiological surveillance during the international mass gathering was conducted. The next stage of work involved epidemiological study on the most numerous previous mass gatherings which took place in Poland. Based on the gathered information the draft of a standardized instrument – a questionnaire for public health purposes – was developed. The information gathered during the indicial stages were discussed with experts in the field. The next stage was the development of a tool box of core capacities and the preparation of a training module for public health officers and relevant authorities involved in the preparation at EURO 2012 championship.

Product 1: Tool box of core surveillance capacities for mass gatherings

The toolbox allows to

  • assess the risk
  • prioritise the diseases
  • assess the surveillance system in place
  • set priorities and allocate resources efficiently

The assessments are to be done in reference with an optimal situation to identify gaps.
This "gap analysis" will enable decision makers to see what aspects and variables they have to consider when planning a mass gathering, thus facilitate evidence based decision making.

Product 2: Training Module "Surveillance of infectious diseases at mass gatherings"

For the purpose of building enhanced surveillance capacity for planners and implementers at local and national level professional training is necessary to secure effective performance, increased acceptance, and good leadership.

Training should be adjusted to the planned surveillance system and based on a training needs assessment. Effective training should cover personnel at different stages of competence and professionalism including epidemiologists, other health professionals, and lay people who may participate in collecting and supplying epidemiological data. It is highly advisable to include field exercises which may help finding gaps in the structure of surveillance and in staff performance.

A two-days training on the following topics has been elaborated and tested:

  • Characteristics of mass gatherings
  • Planning framework for mass gatherings
  • Surveillance systems
  • Risk assessment
  • Processing epidemiological information
  • Outbreak investigation
  • Health promotion
  • Sanitary supervision
  • Communication

In December 2010 a group of planners and implementers from Poland responsible for the upcoming UEFA tournament in 2012 were trained.

Click here to contact work package lead: azielinski@pzh.gov.pl

Date: 07.03.2011