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Unit 32: Surveillance

Michaela Diercke
Jakob Schumacher

Epidemiological Surveillance is the on-going systematic collection, analysis, evaluation and dissemination of health data for the purpose of planning, implementation and evaluation of disease control measures.

The surveillance unit is primarily responsible for the implementation of the notification system within the framework of the Protection against Infection Act (IfSG). It also coordinates the new and further development of surveillance methods and instruments and is responsible for the organisation of the RKI Situation Centre. The unit is the contact for the Public Health Service at the municipal and state level in Germany and for the international health authorities of the European Union (EU) and the World Health Organization (WHO).


Notification system within the framework of the Protection against Infection Act (IfSG)

  • Quality management and evaluation of surveillance of notifiable issues (§4 (2), §6, §7, §9, §10 IfSG)
  • Continuous epidemiological analysis of the surveillance data (§4 (2) IfSG)
  • Early detection and prevention of the spread of infection (§4 (1) IfSG)
  • Further development of case definitions and criteria for transmission and evaluation (§4 (2) IfSG)
  • Reporting (e.g., Epidemiological Yearbook of notifiable infectious diseases, Epidemiological Bulletin) and scientific publications (§4 (2) IfSG)
  • New and further development of surveillance methods and instruments
  • Data collection and processing of anonymised reported Plasmodium spp., Echinococcus spp., Toxoplasma gondii (connatal infection) and Rubella virus (connatal infection) infections as well as management of the corresponding address database (§ 7 (3) IfSG)
  • Recommendations for the surveillance of infectious diseases

Crisis management

  • Coordination and organisation of the RKI Situation Centre
  • Support of the Public Health Service for disease outbreaks

National cooperation

  • Contact for the Public Health Service at the local and state level in Germany
  • Weekly epidemiological situation conference with the Federal States to continuously assess the epidemiological situation
  • Coordination of the Federal-State Working Group on Surveillance of Infectious Diseases and the federal and state information procedure (§ 5 IfSG)

International networks and early warning systems

  • Focal point for international health authorities of the EU and WHO, here especially regarding the early warning systems as part of the International Health Regulations of the WHO and the European Network "Early Warning and Response System (EWRS)"
  • National coordinator for Germany's cooperation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
  • Representation of the RKI in the EU EWRS group
  • Representation of the RKI in the Network Committee of the EU Commission
  • International cooperation in the framework of ECDC’S European network for the epidemiological surveillance (TESSy)
  • Support of the federal states in the implementation of the revision of the WHO International Health Regulations 2005


Ongoing research projects

Completed research projects

  • Evaluation of the reporting system and the development of supporting tools for local health authorities (pilot sentinel)
  • Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1)v hospital surveillance (PIKS)
  • EU research project on Epidemic Intelligence: "Medical Ecosystem (M-Eco)" - Personalized Event-Based Surveillance
  • Development of new surveillance methods such as the KV-Sentinel (analysis of billing data of KV-authorized physicians)
  • EU research project "Response to Emerging infectious disease: Assessment of core capacities and epidemiological tools (REACT)"
  • EU research project “Risk assessment guidelines for infectious diseases transmitted on aircraft (RAGIDA)”
  • Surveillance of bloody diarrhea (SBD) cases in emergency departments during the outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and haemolytic uraemic syndrome in early 2011

Date: 11.04.2024