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Who Counts and Who Gets Counted? Health Equity in Infectious Disease Surveillance

Citation

Noppert, Grace A. & Zalla, Lauren C. (2021). Who Counts and Who Gets Counted? Health Equity in Infectious Disease Surveillance. American Journal of Public Health, 111(6), 1004-1006. PMCID: PMC8101575

Abstract

Infectious disease surveillance has long relied on a biomedical paradigm of disease risk, centering the human host and microbial pathogen without
ample consideration of the social environment in which they interact. However, the risk of exposure to infectious pathogens, the susceptibility to infection once exposed, and the resulting effects of infection are inextricably tied to the social positions that individuals occupy. Regardless of the disease under surveillance, an individual’s education level, residential neighborhood, occupation, race, ethnicity, and other proxies for social position provide essential information about disease risk. This is true across a range of infectious diseases, from those we routinely survey (e.g., influenza, tuberculosis, HIV) to emerging pathogens (e.g., SARS-CoV-2). Consequently, if health equity is not at the core of our surveillance activities, inequities will inevitably arise, persist, and widen over time.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2021.306249

Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type

Regular

Year Published

2021

Journal Title

American Journal of Public Health

Author(s)

Noppert, Grace A.
Zalla, Lauren C.

PMCID

PMC8101575