Preparedness and infection control

Technological development makes it increasingly possible to improve the surveillance functions, including diagnostic PCR methods and gene sequencing, which may enable faster and more specific identification of infectious agents.

Outbreak management

Modern outbreak management includes confirmation of suspected outbreaks, elaboration of case definitions, diagnosis verification, elucidation of the descriptive epidemiology of the outbreak, including spread and possible area or population at risk, development of a hypothesis as to the source of infection and risk factors, testing of this hypothesis by means of microbiological examinations and analytical epidemiology, development of a prognosis, and, finally, evaluation of the effect of countermeasures.

Typing methods

Modern typing methods are able to analyse how close microorganisms are related, thus determining whether they might originate from a common source of infection. This enables faster and more goal-oriented identification of the source of infection and eventually stopping of the spread. 

In a large number of cases, surveillance combined with new diagnostic and epidemiologic methods has led to effective recognition of outbreaks as well as valuable contact tracing and limited spread of infections, e.g. food-borne diseases, resulting in the identification and destruction of infected food stuff.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and hospital-aquired infections

Problems concerning antibiotic-resistant bacteria and hospital-acquired infections is a major concern.

The Institute has analysed data and participated in the elaboration of quality standards for hospital hygiene which, followed properly, are expected to further reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections. Futhermore, a novel system for surveillance of hospital-acquired infections (HAIBA) was launched in 2015. 

The Institute is currently elaborating a plan of action for the future securing of this reduction. Moreover, a goal-oriented effort is being planned in order to limit the antibiotic-resistance development so that Denmark may avoid problems concerning treatment deficiency.

Improvement of the surveillance

The benefits of surveillance are closely related to size, validity, and flow of the basic reports. The Institute is continuously working hard to improve all elements within surveillance. Besides research and development of methods of analysis and tools for data processing, SSI wishes to pave the way for the increasingly widespread and improved communication media to be used for easier, faster, and better coordinated reporting, analyses, and use of digital data across the Health Service System.