Public Health Surveillance System For The Olympic Games

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Public Health Surveillance System for the Olympic Games

The Olympics are a one of a kind event; athletes from all over the world are brought together for just over two weeks. The host city and nation experience a large influx of visitors wanting to travel, experience the city and watch the athletes compete. The dramatic increase in international travel causes an equal increase in risks, especially regarding public health. Public health, according to the World Health Organization (2016), refers to “all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole.” Public health encompasses and integrates many fields including epidemiology, emergency response, research, medicine,
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A method for identifying abnormal changes in these health risks is vital to protect the overall health of citizens and visitors. The host city/country also needs to be able to provide adequate, quality medical care for the large population gathered under unusual circumstances (Wetterhall, Coulombier, Herndon, Zaza, & Cartwell, 1998). In order to protect citizens and visitors, a public health surveillance system (PHSS) can be utilized. A PHSS is defined as the “ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of outcome-specific data for use in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice” that needs to be well integrated with the conduct and evaluation of public health programs (Thacker & Berkelman, 1988). These systems are used by cities, counties, providences, and countries on a daily basis for many reasons. Examples of uses of a PHSS, as given by Teutsch and Thacker (1995), are estimating the magnitude of health problems, detecting epidemics, documenting distribution and spreading of major health events, and monitoring changes in infectious agents. For a mass gathering or large event like the Olympics, the already present surveillance system can be used with modifications to aid in ensuring the overall health of spectators, participants, and other visitors who are there for the
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