Review of Sentinel Surveillance System in Taiwan

Yi-Jhen Chen, Wen-Chao Wu, Jer-Jea Yan

2010 Vol.26 NO.6

Correspondence Author: Yi-Jhen Chen



It has been 20 years since the Sentinel Surveillance System in Taiwan was established and put to work in January 1990. By the end of December 2009, a total number of 704 health-care providers, including 633 clinics and 71 hospitals, participated in this surveillance voluntarily. The number of sentinel physicians is up to 800, most of whom are internists, pediatricians, family physicians, or otolaryngologists. In 1998, the system had detected an unusual increase in number of patients with hand-foot-mouth disease about a month before an epidemic occurred in April. Subsequent control measures could therefore efficiently contain the disease and prevent further spreading. However, newly developed surveillance systems and databases, such as Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance (RODS) and medical records from the Bureau of National Health Insurance, have been set up and gradually replaced the role of Sentinel Surveillance System. Because Sentinel Surveillance System had been closed at the end of 2009, the purpose of this article is to review and document the impact it has had.