Description of the institute
In England, the Health Protection Agency Health Protection Services - Colindale, in North London (formerly the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, CDSC) is the national centre responsible for detection, surveillance and control of communicable diseases. The site also includes the Health Protection Agency's Specialist and Reference Microbiology Laboratories.
CDSC was set up in 1977 to provide 'a highly active information and coordination centre' for the surveillance and control of infectious disease in support of public health doctors and other local authorities concerned with communicable disease control. Joint working with Reference Microbiologists has been undertaken by basing the communicable disease epidemiology and laboratory services on the same site.
The Centre's main public health functions are:
- Surveillance of communicable disease.
The HPA Colindale manages a range of national reporting systems for communicable disease, including laboratory reporting, clinical reporting and statutory notification systems. The centre also makes use of data from many other sources in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of communicable disease in England.
This involves the collection of data by routine reporting or special epidemiological surveys, the analysis of these data, their interpretation to provide information and the dissemination of this information to those who need it for preventive action. The main information outputs of the Centre are the HPA website (www.hpa.org.uk) and a weekly bulletin, the 'Health Protection Report'.
- Surveillance of immunisation and vaccination programmes.
This comprises the continuous assessment of the uptake, impact, effectiveness and safety of vaccines, particularly those in the routine immunisation schedule. It includes also the dissemination of information about vaccine surveillance to those concerned with immunisation and vaccination in the field.
- Investigation and control of communicable disease.
This function involves advice and support to public health physicians and others in the control of communicable disease. Centre staff take part in epidemiological investigations with their locally based public health physician colleagues, especially when a disease episode is of national importance or an outbreak is geographically widespread, and work closely with public health and hospital laboratories, NHS authorities and local authorities.
- Epidemiological research.
The centre's research is service orientated and may be undertaken in association with university academic departments or research institutes. It includes descriptive studies, analytical studies such as case-control studies or cohort studies, intervention studies and field trials of prophylactic agents.
- Teaching and training in communicable disease epidemiology.
The centre's staff take part in courses and seminars for public health specialists and others concerned with communicable disease control. The Centre provides facilities for attachment of trainees in public health epidemiology and microbiology to enable them to gain field experience of communicable disease investigation and control and to give them experience of surveillance of communicable diseases.
The EPIET fellow will have opportunities to participate in all the main activities carried out by the Centre. Based on the fellow's previous experience and interest, appropriate assignments can be arranged.
A suitable trainer for the EPIET fellow will be identified for the period of his/her training. For specific tasks and assignments, the fellow will be supervised by the appropriate consultant for the particular project.
Number of EPIET fellows trained at institute: Seventeen (1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Number of alumni at institute: Three
Available as a training site for cohort 2013: No