Infectious disease control in a long-term refugee camp: the role of epidemiologic surveillance and investigation

Am J Public Health. 1990 Jul;80(7):824-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.7.824.


This report demonstrates the role of epidemiologic surveillance and investigation in the control of infectious diseases in a long-term refugee camp. The applications of simple epidemiologic methods in a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border are described for a one-year period. The development of a Health Information Office facilitated the collection of demographic and vital statistics data, administration of a disease surveillance system, regular monitoring of hospital and outpatient discharge diagnoses, and investigation of disease outbreaks. This office also organized community health education campaigns and disease control efforts. Examples of specific disease investigations are provided to demonstrate the utility of epidemiologic surveillance in the control of infectious disease. We conclude that simple epidemiologic methods play an important role in health planning in long-term refugee camps.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Hospital Records
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Refugees*
  • Registries
  • Thailand
  • Vital Statistics