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Ten Leading Nationally Notifiable Infectious Diseases -- United States, 1995

The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) is a national passive surveillance system comprising 52 infectious diseases designated by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists as reportable to CDC (1). This report is based on the Summary of Notifiable Diseases for 1995 (2) and presents the most commonly reported nationally notifiable diseases for 1995. During 1995, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) predominated and were reported among all age groups.

The 10 most frequently reported nationally notifiable infectious diseases for 1995 were, in descending order, chlamydia, gonorrhea, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), salmonellosis, hepatitis A, shigellosis, tuberculosis (TB), primary and secondary syphilis, Lyme disease, and hepatitis B (2). The STDs of chlamydia, gonorrhea, AIDS, primary and secondary syphilis, and hepatitis B accounted for 87% of cases reported for these 10 diseases.

Although 1995 was the first year genital infections with Chlamydia trachomatis were nationally notifiable, this condition was the most commonly reported disease for 1995. Most cases were reported among women; infection with C. trachomatis is tested for and reported less frequently for men than for women. Rates for AIDS and TB were substantially higher among males than females. Consistent with previous surveillance data, the rate of AIDS reported among men was more than four times that for women, and for TB, nearly twice that for women. Except for AIDS, TB, and genital infection with C. trachomatis, sex-specific rates of notifiable diseases were similar.

The most commonly reported infectious diseases varied by age group. Salmonellosis and shigellosis continued to be the most common notifiable diseases reported among children aged less than 5 years (61.8 and 46.3 per 100,000 population, respectively). Among children aged 5-14 years, gonorrhea and shigellosis (rates of 21.8 and 20.1, respectively) were the most frequently reported diseases. Gonorrhea remained the most common disease reported among persons aged 15-24 years (645.0), and rates for both gonorrhea and AIDS were high among persons aged 25-44 years (162.4 and 65.3, respectively) and persons aged 45-64 years (22.3 and 27.8, respectively). Among persons aged greater than 65 years, TB was the most commonly reported notifiable disease (16.3). Age-specific data about chlamydial infections were not available for 1995.

Reported by: Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Div of Public Health Surveillance and Informatics (proposed), Epidemiology Program Office, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: The findings in the Summary of Notifiable Diseases reflect only diseases that are diagnosed by health-care or laboratory workers and reported to state and local health departments, who then report to CDC. Resources available for conducting surveillance vary widely by disease (3). In addition, patterns of detection and reporting probably vary by disease, age or population group, state, and locality. Consequently, for many of these conditions, the true incidences in the United States probably are underestimated. Despite such limitations, however, these and other surveillance data are useful for monitoring trends and for determining relative disease burdens.

As part of the MMWR series, CDC will release on October 25 the Summary of Notifiable Diseases, United States, 1995 (2). This publication contains summary tables of the official statistics for the reported occurrence of nationally notifiable diseases during 1995. Data for 1995 are presented by month; geographic location; and patient age, sex, and race/ethnicity in maps and graphs for many conditions. Also included are a brief history of notifiable disease reporting, highlights of important developments in the reported occurrences of selected nonnotifiable diseases (e.g., dengue fever, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, penicillin-nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Ebola hemorrhagic fever), and data from the Public Health Laboratory Information System.

References

  1. Koo D, Wetterhall SF. History and current status of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. Journal of Public Health Management Practice 1996;2:4-10.

  2. CDC. Summary of notifiable diseases, United States, 1995. MMWR 1996;44(53) (in press).

  3. Osterholm MT, Birkhead GS, Meriwether RA. Impediments to public health surveillance in the 1990s: the lack of resources and the need for priorities. Journal of Public Health Management Practice 1996;2:11-5.




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