Service(s) working on this project
Thanks to many years of vaccination, many serious childhood diseases have virtually disappeared in Belgium. However, we note that those diseases sometimes reappear with the risk of causing epidemics. Sciensano monitors these diseases through various networks, including PediSurv. This network collects data on certain serious and/or rare infectious diseases in children under the age of 15 and enables Sciensano to:
- follow trends of infectious diseases in children
- detect and monitor epidemics
- support the vaccination policy in Belgium
- monitor the concretisation of Belgium’s commitments towards the international plans of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the eradication of poliomyelitis and the elimination of measles and rubella.
Sciensano’s Epidemiology of infectious diseases department coordinates since October 2002 the network for the surveillance of infectious diseases in children (PediSurv). Approximately 350 clinicians participate in the network and collect demographic, clinical and microbiological data from a series of severe and/or rare infectious diseases in children <15 years of age:
- acute weak paralysis (AFP)
- congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)
- hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
- invasive pneumococcal infections
- severe cases of whooping cough in children <3 years of age (from 01/06/2021)
These 350 practitioners participate voluntarily and are pediatricians from all over Belgium and GPs from Brussels. These doctors record every month on Sciensano’s “Pedisurv” website the characteristics of the diagnosed cases of the above-mentioned infectious diseases. The practitioners also report the absence of cases, which is essential in the context of the international elimination and eradication programs.
Essential cooperation to protect and improve children’s health
To support our partners and policy makers in protecting and improving children’s health, Sciensano combines these data, depending on the disease, with data from various Belgian registers and/or surveillance networks such as:
- the national reference centers, including:
- NRC for measles, mumps and rubella, housed at Sciensano
- NRC for invasive pneumococcal infections (streptococcus pneumoniae), KULeuven (only available in Dutch or French)
- NRC for congenital infections (link is external), Hopital University Erasme-ULB (only available in Dutch or French)
- NRC for enteroviruses (incl. Poliovirus and parecho virus) (link is external), KULeuven (only available in Dutch or French)
- NRC for STEC (Shiga toxin producing E. coli) (link is external), UZ Brussel (only available in Dutch or French)
- the network of Sentinel laboratories (Sciensano) (only available in Dutch or French)
- the minimum hospital data (FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment) (only available in Dutch or French)
- the mandatory notifications (AViQ, COCOM, AZG)
- the centralized registration platforms for vaccinations such as vaccinnet (from AZG, only available in Dutch) and e-vax (from FWB, only available in French).
The combination of these data enables monitoring of epidemiological trends of these diseases and evaluation of the effect of preventive measures such as vaccination. On the basis of these analyzes, Sciensano describes the burden of these diseases on the health status of the population (see report (see reports under the block “Associated publications” at the bottom of this page).
An Advisory Committee, consisting of practitioners participating in the network and representatives from the health authorities evaluates periodically the need to modify the list of infectious diseases monitored via Pedisurv, in function of public health priorities.
The PediSurv network is also an essential tool to fulfill Belgium’s commitments in the framework of the international plans for the eradication of poliomyelitis and the elimination of measles and rubella. The surveillance network is also used for targeted epidemiological studies on pediatric infectious diseases other than those included in permanent surveillance (eg, Case study of pediatric hospital admissions for varicella, 2011-2012).