Research Projects (Third party funds)


Evaluation of case definitions in West Africa

Case definitions (CD) are an essential instrument of surveillance and investigation of epidemic prone diseases. They insure the international comparability of surveillance data over time. Therefore, they must be easy to use as well as constantly updated to the latest medical knowledge. 

Unfortunately, international data are not sufficiently uniform to be fully comparable. Both structural and content-related differences in CD affect the application of the respective surveillance systems. This hampers the current digitalisation process, as uniformity is a prerequisite for the development of precise algorithms aimed at a faster and more adequate response to outbreaks prevention and management.

The objective of this project is to systematically collect existing literature addressing the use and comparison or development of case definitions for viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF) in ECOWAS countries to get an insight into the current state of research. The search also aims to provide a comprehensive collection of CD used for the surveillance of VHF to examine the different types and inherent logic of the definitions, particularly in regard to the use of the logic operators AND/OR.

Based on this, the translatability of the investigated CD into computer algorithms will be reviewed. The aim is to propose a uniform concept for the development of CD in order to achieve a better comparability of surveillance data. Another objective is to guarantee the translation of CD into accurate algorithms for e Health and mHealth tools to improve disease detection and timeliness of response.

The project cooperates closely with the open source mHealth tool “Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System” (SORMAS), developed by the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research ( ).


  • Prof Dr Gérard Krause

    Head of Department Epidemiology



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    CV and Publications


Funding agency

HZI - Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

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