Going public, Dutch style

Mandatory notification can be a useful tool to support infectious disease prevention and control.

silence.commGuidelines are needed to help policymakers decide whether mandatory notification of an infectious disease is appropriate. We developed a decision aid, based on a range of criteria previously used in the Netherlands or in other regions to help decide whether to make a disease notifiable.

Criteria were categorised as being effective, feasible and necessary with regard to the relevance of mandatory notification. Expert panels piloted the decision aid. Here we illustrate its use for three diseases (Vibrio vulnificus infection, chronic Q fever and dengue fever) for which mandatory notification was requested. For dengue fever, the expert panel advised mandatory notification; for V. vulnificus infection and chronic Q fever, the expert panel concluded that mandatory notification was not (yet) justified.

Use of the decision aid led to a structured, transparent decision making process and a thorough assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory notification of these diseases. It also helped identify knowledge gaps that required further research before a decision could be made. We therefore recommend use of this aid for public health policy making.

 To notify or not to notify: decision aid for policy makers on whether to make an infectious disease mandatorily notifiable

Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 34, 27 August 2015

P Bijkerk, EB Fanoy, K Kardamanidis, SM van der Plas, MJ te Wierik, ME Kretzschmar, GB Haringhuizen, HJ van Vliet, MA van der Sande