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Glossary for public health surveillance in the age of data science
  1. Arnaud Chiolero1,2,3,4,
  2. David Buckeridge4
  1. 1Population Health Laboratory (#PopHealthLab), Department of Community Health, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  2. 2Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3Observatoire valaisan de la santé (OVS), Sion, Switzerland
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Prof Arnaud Chiolero, Population Health Laboratory (#PopHealthLab), Department of Community Health, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland; achiolero{at}


Public health surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of data, closely integrated with the timely dissemination of the resulting information to those responsible for preventing and controlling disease and injury. With the rapid development of data science, encompassing big data and artificial intelligence, and with the exponential growth of accessible and highly heterogeneous health-related data, from healthcare providers to user-generated online content, the field of surveillance and health monitoring is changing rapidly. It is, therefore, the right time for a short glossary of key terms in public health surveillance, with an emphasis on new data-science developments in the field.

  • Public health surveillance
  • monitoring
  • data science
  • big data

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  • Contributors AC and BD both drafted the paper and reviewed it before submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not applicable.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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