Ten years of weekly epidemiological teleconference (EpiLag) – an effective and time-efficient tool for infectious disease event information, Germany, 2009–2018
an der Heiden, Maria
the EpiLag-Working Group
In 2009, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the 16 German federal state public health authorities (PHAs) established a weekly epidemiological teleconference (EpiLag) to discuss infectious disease (ID) events and foster horizontal and vertical information exchange. We present the procedure, discussed ID topics and evaluation results of EpiLag after 10 years. We analysed attendance, duration of EpiLag and the frequency of reported events. Participants (RKI and state PHA) were surveyed regarding their satisfaction with logistics, contents and usefulness of EpiLag (Likert scales). Between 2009 and 2018, RKI hosted 484 EpiLag conferences with a mean duration of 25 min (range: 4–60) and high participation (range: 9–16; mean: 15 PHAs). Overall, 2975 ID events (39% international, 9% national and 52% subnational) were presented (mean: 6.1 per EpiLag), most frequently on measles (18%), salmonellosis (8%) and influenza (5%). All responding participants (14/16 PHAs and 9/9 at RKI) were satisfied with the EpiLag’s organization and minutes and deemed EpiLag useful for an overview and information distribution on ID events relevant to Germany. EpiLag is time efficient, easily applicable and useful for a low-threshold event communication. It supports PHAs in crises and strengthens the network of surveillance stakeholders. We recommend its implementation to other countries or sectors.
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