Changes to Timeliness and Completeness of Infectious Disease Reporting in Texas After Implementation of an Epidemiologic Capacity Program. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to characterize the changes in timeliness and completeness of disease case reporting in Texas in response to an increasing number of foodborne illnesses and high-consequence infectious disease investigations and the Texas Department of State Health Services' new state-funded epidemiologist (SFE) program. METHODS: We extracted electronic disease case reporting data on 42 conditions from 2012 through 2016 in all local health department (LHD) jurisdictions. We analyzed data on median time for processing reports and percentage of complete reports across time and between SFE and non-SFE jurisdictions using Mann-Whitney t tests and z scores. RESULTS: The median time of processing improved from 13 days to 10 days from 2012 to 2016, and the percentage of disease case reports that were complete improved from 19.6% to 27.7%. Most reports were for foodborne illnesses; both timeliness (11 to 7 days) and completeness (20.9% to 23.5%) improved for these reports. CONCLUSIONS: Disease reporting improvements in timeliness and completeness were associated with the SFE program and its enhancement of epidemiologic capacity. SFEs were shown to improve surveillance metrics in LHDs, even in jurisdictions with a high volume of case reports. Adding epidemiologist positions in LHDs produces a tangible outcome of improved disease surveillance.

published proceedings

  • Public Health Rep

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Stone, K. W., Felkner, M., Garza, E., Perez-Patron, M., Schmit, C. D., McDonald, T. J., & Horney, J. A.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Stone, Kahler W||Felkner, Marilyn||Garza, Eric||Perez-Patron, Maria||Schmit, Cason D||McDonald, Thomas J||Horney, Jennifer A

publication date

  • July 2022