Enhanced surveillance for the Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States, Apia, Samoa, September 2014

Western Pac Surveill Response J. 2017 Feb 6;8(1):15-21. doi: 10.5365/WPSAR.2016.7.4.002. eCollection 2017 Jan-Mar.


The Ministry of Health in Samoa, in partnership with the Pacific Community, successfully implemented enhanced surveillance for the high-profile Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States held concurrently with the popular local Teuila festival during a widespread chikungunya outbreak in September 2014. Samoa's weekly syndromic surveillance system was expanded to 12 syndromes and 10 sentinel sites from four syndromes and seven sentinel sites; sites included the national hospital, four private health clinics and three national health service clinics. Daily situation reports were produced and were disseminated through PacNet (the e-mail alert and communication tool of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network) together with daily prioritized line lists of syndrome activity to facilitate rapid response and investigation by the Samoan EpiNet team. Standard operating procedures for surveillance and response were introduced, together with a sustainability plan, including a monitoring and evaluation framework, to facilitate the transition of the mass gathering surveillance improvements to routine surveillance. The enhanced surveillance performed well, providing vital disease early warning and health security assurance. A total of 2386 encounters and 708 syndrome cases were reported. Influenza-like illness was the most frequently seen syndrome (17%). No new infectious disease outbreaks were recorded. The experience emphasized: (1) the need for a long lead time to pilot the surveillance enhancements and to maximize their sustainability; (2) the importance of good communication between key stakeholders; and (3) having sufficient staff dedicated to both surveillance and response.

MeSH terms

  • Chikungunya Fever / epidemiology
  • Chikungunya Fever / prevention & control*
  • Chikungunya Fever / transmission
  • Chikungunya Fever / virology
  • Chikungunya virus*
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Congresses as Topic*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Holidays
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / complications
  • Public Health
  • Public Health Surveillance*
  • Samoa / epidemiology
  • Sentinel Surveillance*
  • Syndrome
  • United Nations