Via Eurosurveillance: Enhanced epidemic intelligence using a web-based screening system during the 2010 FIFA WorldCup in South Africa. The abstract:
The 2010 FIFA World Cup took place in South Africa between 11 June and 11 July 2010. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in collaboration with the hosting authorities, carried out enhanced epidemic intelligence activities from 7 June to 16 July 2010 for timely detection and monitoring of signals of public health events with a potential to pose a risk to participants and visitors.
We adapted ECDC’s routine epidemic intelligence process to targeted event-based surveillance of official and unofficial online information sources. A set of three specifically adapted alerts in the web-based screening system MedISys were set up: potential public health events in South Africa, those occurring in the participating countries and those in the rest of the world. Results were shared with national and international public health partners through daily bulletins.
According to pre-established ECDC criteria for the World Cup, 21 events of potential public health relevance were identified at local and international level. Although none of the events detected were evaluated as posing a serious risk for the World Cup, we consider that the investment in targeted event-based surveillance activities during the tournament was relevant as it facilitated real-time detection and assessment of potential threats.
An additional benefit was early communication of relevant information to public health partners.
I hope ECDC and other agencies can apply something similar to this year's World Cup in Brazil.